Chelsea are reportedly no longer prepared to extend Romelu Lukaku’s loan to Inter Milan for a second season.
The Belgian joined the Blues from Inter in 2021 in a club-record deal worth just shy of £100m. However, after an underwhelming year which saw him score just eight league goals and fall out of favour with then-manager Thomas Tuchel, Lukaku was allowed to return to the San Siro on loan for the season.
Despite an injury-hit return to Serie A, the Nerazzurri are said to be keen on extending the loan deal for a second year. Chelsea were also thought to be open to such an arrangement, but may now have changed their minds.
According to Calciomercato, via Football Italia, Chelsea have changed their tune after crunching the numbers. Rather than loaning Lukaku to Inter for a second season ahead of a potential permanent deal, the Blues are said to be ready to bring the striker back to London before selling over the summer.
Inter paid just £6.7m for this season’s loan, and a similar sum has been mooted when it comes to extending the arrangement for a second year. Simone Inzaghi’s side have not been put off by Lukaku’s injury issues, with the change reported to have come from Chelsea’s end.
Lukaku scored on his second debut for Inter, netting against Lecce in September. However, injuries have restricted him to just five appearances back in Milan.
While Tuchel is no longer Chelsea manager, the change in the dugout will not necessarily open the door for a shock return to the first team picture for Lukaku. Graham Potter has taken over in the dugout, but has no apparent plans to reintegrate the 29-year-old.
Lukaku is currently in Qatar with the Belgium national side, despite questions remaining over an injury which limited his involvement for Inter before the break. Reports this week suggest he is a doubt for the Red Devils’ first two group games, having last played on October 29.
He is joined in Roberto Martinez’s squad by seven Premier League players, including Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne and Leicester City trio Timothy Castagne, Wout Faes and Youri Tielemans. The other Premier League representatives are Brighton’s Leandro Trossard, Leander Dendoncker of Aston Villa and Everton’s summer signing Amadou Onana.
Belgium will begin their World Cup campaign on November 23 with a match against a Canadian side making only their second appearance in the finals. They will also face Morocco and Croatia in the group stages as they look to match or potentially even better their run to the semi-finals in 2018.