Chelsea’s pursuit of Romelu Lukaku could trigger a transfer merry-go-round that would see Tammy Abraham move to Serie A – but not to Inter.
The Blues have turned their attention to bringing Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge with negotiations over a £135m deal for Borussia Dortmund phenomenon Erling Haaland at an impasse.
It emerged on Monday night that Chelsea had had an £85m-plus-Marcos Alonso bid for the Belgian rejected, and while Lukaku has publicly claimed he is happy at Inter and preparing for the new season at San Siro, 90min revealed there is a belief that he would be ‘very interested’ in returning to west London having been flattered by his former side’s pursuit and proposal.
Sky Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio now adds that Inter are tentatively pondering replacements for their star striker, with the Scudetto winners considering signing both Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata and Joaquin Correa of Lazio to replenish their strike force.
That’s where Abraham supposedly comes in, with Chelsea willing to ship him off to Atalanta – where he would replace Zapata – to facilitate their own deal for Lukaku, although it is unclear whether that would be on loan or permanently.
Although the Champions League winners are clearly serious about bringing the 28-year-old back to Stamford Bridge, a deal of this nature seems farfetched at this relatively early stage in proceedings – especially considering Atalanta would struggle to afford Abraham’s £40m price tag and £57,000-per-week wages – and it is noted that this merry-go-round is seen as ‘hypothetical’ at this point.
The belief is that Chelsea will return with an improved offer in the near future, but it is noted that Lukaku may have to voice a desire to leave if the bid is to be accepted.
There is currently no indication that Lukaku will push for an exit. His public stance that he is happy in Milan is the truth and he has not been unsettled by the departure of manager Antonio Conte, but he would not rule out a return to London either.
Chelsea’s belief is that Inter need to sell to balance the books and reduce their wage budget, and while it’s a stretch to say there is optimism that the deal will get done, the Blues see Lukaku as their best chance of landing a superstar forward this summer.