Chelsea have held more constructive talks in their attempt to re-sign Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku and there is real hope this can lead to an agreement between all parties.
Chelsea have yet to increase their second offer to Inter for the Belgium international – which was £85m (€100m) plus left-back Marcos Alonso – but there is a growing confidence a deal can be agreed.
Inter are expected to agree to sell Lukaku if the reigning European champions offer a deal worth £102m (€120m).
Sky Sports News reported on Wednesday Lukaku has told Inter he would like them to accept a suitable offer for him from his former club.
Premier League rivals Manchester City had also registered their interest in signing the 28-year-old earlier this year, but no offer was made as Inter showed no intention of selling at the time.
Tuchel: Lukaku a fantastic player
Speaking after his side’s pre-season friendly against Tottenham on Wednesday evening, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel refused to directly address the transfer situation but described Lukaku as a “fantastic player”.
“I will not talk about players who don’t play in my squad,” Tuchel said. “And Romelu Lukaku is a fantastic player but he’s a player from Inter and it’s with all the respect I will not talk about him in this situation.
Asked about Lukaku having expressed his desire to return to Stamford Bridge, Tuchel added: “Everybody wants to come [to Chelsea] hopefully. Not everybody unfortunately, but you can imagine that a lot of players want to come and join.
“The board is not offering players. That’s not the way it works so far. We’re talking with the board about players and if our opinions and the scouts conclude, then we target players who, in all our opinion, could make our squad stronger, which is quite a challenge to find.
“We don’t only talk about talent but also attitude because we have a strong squad and there are some players of which we think they could be a good target and good add-ons and good improvement in our squad.”
Lukaku played a key role in Inter’s Serie A win last season, scoring 24 goals.
Inter need to reduce their wage bill this summer and title-winning boss Antonio Conte left the club in May amid concerns about plans to cut his budget.
Chelsea are determined to sign a world-class striker and their other main target this summer has been Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland.
Lukaku previously spent three years at Chelsea after signing from Anderlecht as a teenager in 2011.
However, he made only 15 appearances for the club – failing to score a goal – before moving to Everton for £28m in July 2014.
He was close to a return in July 2017 but opted to join Manchester United for £75m. Inter signed him from United for £73m two years ago.
What does Lukaku deal mean for Haaland?
Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth:
“It’s a very good question as Chelsea were very interested in Haaland. Who knows, they could still be interested. Could you see a situation where they could try to break the bank by bringing in Haaland and Romelu Lukaku? That seems unlikely.
“This could drag on into next summer. Borussia Dortmund have said there’s no gentleman’s agreement with Haaland as there was with Jadon Sancho. All of the noises coming out of Germany are saying Dortmund won’t sell both those players in the same transfer window.
“Haaland has a release clause that kicks in next summer. With Man City in for Harry Kane and Chelsea in for Lukaku, where does that leave those two clubs with regards to Haaland? Maybe they both feel they could pair those players with Haaland but next summer there will be more clubs who could afford him.”
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