The summer transfer window for Chelsea has begun on a very interesting note with the club prepared to offload their club-record signing Romelu Lukaku after the Belgian’s horrendous first season back at the club. The new owners Clearlake-Boehly seem to be prepared to let their biggest earner at the club leave on an initial loan with an obligation to buy to Inter Milan with Tuchel not keen on using the 29-year-old as his first choice striker next season. Let’s analyze how the entire Lukaku saga unfolded and how Chelsea could benefit massively by asking for players in exchange.
Romelu Lukaku’s fall from grace at Chelsea
The summer of 2021 was set to be a very decisive summer for Thomas Tuchel who was on course to having his first full season in the Premier League and had just won the Champions League within 6 months of taking over. The German’s priority was to sign a world-class no.9, a left wing-back and a midfielder to strengthen his Champions League winning side and close the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City in the domestic competitions.
The no.9 shortlist consisted of Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski and Romelu Lukaku which were all liked by Tuchel and could be the “final piece of the jigsaw” at the West London club.
The striker was off to a great start at the club with a man of the match against Arsenal and crucial goals in the Champions League group stages to send Chelsea through to the round of 16. T
he month of December was the beginning of the end for the 29-year-old who gave an unauthorized interview for Sky Italia in which he expressed his dissatisfaction at Chelsea and mentioned he wanted to go back to Inter Milan after his spell at Chelsea. Tuchel was certainly not happy with the Belgian and decided to impose a fine and not name him in the squad for the games against Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
The performance in the away game against Crystal Palace in February in which the striker managed just 7 touches with 2 being from kickoff was the final nail in the coffin. The interview and the horror show at Selhurst Park strained the relationship with the manager and player which is described as being “0 or non existent” with Tuchel not content with using Lukaku as his first-choice number 9 for next season.
What do the reports say about the deal?
According to the David Ornstein of the Athletic, “Talks between Inter Milan and Chelsea will continue as the Italian team attempt to re-sign Romelu Lukaku, with an improved offer anticipated after their initial approach was turned down. At present, the financial part is believed not to be the most significant obstacle to the transfer happening; the bigger issue is said to be Chelsea’s wish to bring players in the opposite direction. But there is optimism that a consensus can be found — largely owing to a general acceptance among sources working on the situation that the move is in the best interests of all concerned.”
Inter Milan are offering a loan deal worth 7 million euros which is way below the fee Chelsea wants but a common consensus around 10 million could be found between the two clubs.
Chelsea are reportedly interested in asking for atleast two players in exchange for letting Lukaku head to Italy with Inter Milan ready to lose their crucial players to ease negotiations. Stefan De Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni and Denzel Dumfries are the names being mentioned IF a swap deal is agreed upon by the Italian and English clubs.
A possible swap deal?
With Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen departing the club, the Blues need atleast 2 defenders to fill in the void left by the departing duo. Bastoni and De Vrij could be the perfect replacements who would join the club for a fee way lesser than their market value as part of the Lukaku deal. Chelsea scouts have been keeping close tabs on the duo with Tuchel also keen on signing the two center-backs.
A backup wingback who can play on both sides of the pitch is also a player Chelsea are looking for in the market and Denzel Dumfries could be the answer to their problems. The Dutch international who joined Inter last summer has been impressive in his performances for the Nerrazurri and could fit in perfectly in the 3 at the back system used by Chelsea.
Inter Milan are ready to offer the three defenders to fast-track the deal for a fee lower than the trio’s current market value and get it over the line as early as next week. The Italian club faces a dire financial situation and offloading the three players would reduce the wage bill and accommodate Lukaku’s massive wages which the Italian club would pay completely during his loan at the club.
Chelsea could be killing two birds with one stone in this deal by offloading their highest earner with two/three players the club require to strengthen their squad for next season. With both the clubs ready to finalize the deal as soon as possible, it wouldn’t be long until an agreement is in place for a swap deal. It would be another Marina Granovskaia masterclass and could be her final one with reports suggesting the Iron lady will leave her role at the West London club.