Detested at Chelsea and Inter, what next for Romelu Lukaku?

What next for Romelu Lukaku


What next for Romelu Lukaku

Detested at Chelsea and Inter, what next for Romelu Lukaku?

Seye Omidiora 10:35 - 19.07.2023

Lukaku is persona non grata at Chelsea and Inter Milan, and a bizarre transfer to Juventus has been mooted. What is the striker's rationale?

Romelu Lukaku divides opinion, but the Belgian striker’s latest transfer drama underscores why the Chelsea man is not everyone’s cup of tea.

The expectation all this time was a return to Inter Milan for the upcoming season; now it seems that switch is dead in the water.

Last season, Lukaku told anyone who cared to listen that he wanted Inter. No other club but the Nerazzurri would suffice due to a connection with the club since he joined them in 2019, claiming the Scudetto in the 2020-21 season.

Lukaku's move to Inter Milan has come to naught.
Lukaku's move to Inter Milan has come to naught. Lukaku's move to Inter Milan has come to naught.

Why Lukaku’s preferred move from Chelsea to Inter fell through

But Inter’s unique financial situation meant a return to Milan would be complicated. Indeed, outgoings and Lukaku taking a pay cut — something reports suggested he was willing to do — would help to secure the transfer, with Andre Onana’s expected transfer to Manchester United theoretically giving the club the necessary wiggle room.

However, that may not materialise, as the Belgian appears to have burned bridges with Inter. The Nerazzurri have supposedly shifted their focus to other centre-forward targets when it seemed they were closing in on an agreement with Chelsea.

Reports indicate that the Champions League finalists took umbrage at the striker negotiating with Juventus, forcing them to pull out of negotiations.

The club’s vocal fans feel the relationship is broken, too, with Tuesday’s remarks in no uncertain terms rejecting the 30-year-old.

Be that as it may, why would Lukaku jeopardise his relationship with Inter for a Juventus switch after consistently reiterating his Nerazzurri preference?

Lukaku’s Inter hurt

News coming out of Italy suggests that the striker had been talking to the Old Lady before the Champions League final, adding further confusion given the striker’s social media post following the defeat at the hands of Manchester City.

This indicated a desire to stay in Milan, and the subsequent rejection of a move to Saudi Arabia underlined that wish.

There is a feeling Lukaku retains some disappointment at being left out of some of Inter’s big games by Simone Inzaghi last season, and several observers believe Inter’s slowness in getting a permanent deal done this summer forced the striker to find an alternative.

Indeed, this writer believed the Nerazzurri boss should have returned to the tried and tested partnership of LuLa (Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez) due to the Belgian’s return to form after struggling for performances and fitness until the New Year.

However, both reasons serving as justification to negotiate with Juventus raise eyebrows.

Edin Dzeko, who limited Lukaku’s game time last season, has departed for Fenerbahce, theoretically giving the Belgian a free shot at more first-team football in 2023-24.

Additionally, recognising Inter’s financial realities meant a move would be complex — and the Belgian should have been aware of the club’s situation. Overlooking both if the Juventus reports are genuine points to a knee-jerk reaction from Lukaku.

Lukaku’s possible transfer to Juventus is absurd

A Juventus switch is also strange for several reasons.

The club’s fans have voiced their concerns due to their fierce rivalry with Inter, but that takes a backseat to the main reason a potential move to the Juventus Stadium would be odd.

Lukaku suffered racial abuse in the Coppa Italia first-leg clash against Massimiliano Allegri’s team in April, with the striker and his entourage vocal about the incident — and racism, in general.

No less than 171 fans were handed stadium bans of varying lengths by the Italian authorities for that episode. But that incident and Vinicius Junior’s latest high-profile abuse against Valencia in Spain at the backend of last season reaffirmed Lukaku’s anti-racism stance.

“It’s really disappointing that it happens because we’re in 2023, the world is different cultures, different religions, different people of colour and still we make the same mistakes all the time,” Lukaku told CNN in June.

A switch to the same club for Lukaku seems a bad fit.

With a transfer dependent on Dusan Vlahovic’s sale, the convoluted nature of the Belgian’s situation is highlighted, and you wonder what happens if the Old Lady cannot let go of the Serbian striker before September.

From Juventus’ perspective, despite the former Fiorentina player’s rough 2022-23, replacing a 23-year-old with Vlahovic’s ceiling for Lukaku ostensibly looks like bad business for the Serie A giants.

The Belgian’s situation was complex heading into the summer but Inter pulling out and the Chelsea man seemingly intent on moving to Juventus was an unforeseen curveball.

Lukaku has burned bridges with the Blues and returning to Stamford Bridge for the 2023-24 campaign would be his last resort.

Lukaku looking to leave Chelsea
Lukaku looking to leave Chelsea Lukaku looking to leave Chelsea

The striker left Manchester United acrimoniously, has destroyed amicable relations with Chelsea and has vexed Inter yet again, demonstrating a pattern that cannot be played down.

Two-faced, disloyal mercenary? No matter how this summer’s saga pans out, it reflects poorly on the Belgian striker.