The Hot Days of Lukaku roll on, with plenty of smoke pouring out of the rumor mill about Chelsea’s move for our former striker.
Most reports agree that a bid in the region of €120-130m will get things done and that terms over a five-year contract worth £212,000-a-week (as per the Evening Standard) have been already agreed. Lukaku had been reluctant to leave just a few weeks ago (despite the departure of Antonio Conte), but his head has now been turned harder than any contestant’s on Love Island, or something.
However, there could be trouble afoot. These things are never easy, after all.
According to the latest reports out of Italy, at least some of Inter’s top brass are having second thoughts and may not be willing to authorize the transfer, at any cost — and Tuchel made it clear that we’re not going to go to “any cost” lengths anyway. While the financial windfall would be considerable and highly beneficial, it would be a “disaster” on a sporting level that could have massive reverberations throughout the rest of the squad. Inter essentially dismantling a title-winning team in a few short months (Conte, Hakimi, Lukaku all gone) would obviously not sit well with the fans either, who already made a public reminder about certain promises made by the team.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness), the potential transfer has created a rift between the owners, the Zhang family, and the directors, Giuseppe Marotta and Piero Ausilio, who are also joined by manager Simone Inzaghi in their desire to keep Lukaku.
There’s been some (possibly unfounded) talk of Marotta (and others) even resigning over this, though club president Steven Zhang is now apparently having second thoughts as well, feeling the pressure from all sides and all angles. Gazzetta’s latest claims that he’s now “pausing for reflection” — although the report does admit that a “popular uprising” by the fans is still unlikely to change club business.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are still hoping to wrap up this deal in the next few days, and to have Lukaku in the squad before the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.
Incidentally, a small part of the final transfer fee will be due back to Chelsea, thanks to FIFA’s solidarity mechanism.
5% of Romelu Lukaku’s transfer fee will go to his former clubs (between age 12-23) as a solidarity payment: that’s a €2m reduction on the total fee for Chelsea as they are part of the compensation scheme. Anderlecht will get around 2,25%. pic.twitter.com/BvaKRFlHoZ— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) August 5, 2021