According to rumours, Chelsea are willing to cut their losses on Romelu Lukaku and accept a reduced loan cost, with the West London club already lined up a successor for their record purchase.
Last summer, the Belgian forward joined Chelsea for £97.5 million from Inter Milan, but he failed to live up to his price tag, enraging fans with an ill-advised interview and seemed to be a bad match for Thomas Tuchel’s style of play.
Lukaku wants to return to San Siro, but Inter do not have the finances to do so, and Chelsea were hoping for a loan fee of roughly £21 million.
However, according to Goal.com, the Blues have considerably reduced their asking price, which is now just £10 million – still significantly more than the £6 million Inter have offered thus far.
Chelsea’s decision to reduce the loan fee reflects their desire to sell Lukaku – even if only temporarily – and they are already scouting forwards who better suit Tuchel’s style of play.
The club’s preference this time is for a flexible, high-energy, pushing inside forward rather than an out-and-out number nine like Lukaku.
There are three primary candidates, with Chelsea mulling a move for Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, who is Arsenal’s top summer transfer target.
The Brazilian checks all of Chelsea’s boxes, as he can play across the frontline and has a high work rate, whilst City is aiming to cash in after buying Erling Haaland.
Chelsea’s hierarchy is also considering Jesus’ City teammate Raheem Sterling, as well as RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku – with both of those targets implying Tuchel will return to the successful false nine formation.
Chelsea are not anticipated to pursue Robert Lewandowski, who has sought to leave Bayern Munich and is coveted by Barcelona, this time around, despite their past interest.
Meanwhile, Armando Broja will be given a chance to shine in pre-season as a more traditional striker option, despite the fact that he has a lengthy list of suitors if Chelsea decide to sell.