Romelu Lukaku’s agent, Federico Pastorello, did a bit of agenting this week, sitting down for an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica and answering a few questions on a few topics within his sphere of business, including Antonio Conte, Federico Bernardeschi, Erling Haaland and the transfer market in general, and of course Romelu Lukaku.
Pastorello’s answers were fairly tame, talking about how Lukaku’s return to Chelsea hasn’t exactly worked out as well as expected (which is true), about how the situation will have to “carefully evaluated” in the summer (which means anything and nothing), about how Lukaku is only focused on the end of the season (and the FA Cup specifically), and about how rumors about an exit are “much ado about nothing” — both because there’s been no talks with Inter Milan or AC Milan, and if even he had talked with them, Chelsea literally cannot conduct any transfers at the moment. That might of course change once said “careful evaluations” are conducted and restrictions are lifted, but things can always change and change quickly in football.
But of course, even such innocuous comments can cause a stir in football media (not to mention social media), and that’s precisely what’s happened over the past 12 hours, once those quotes made way across to the English media.
It was even put to Thomas Tuchel in today’s pre-match press conference, adding even more weight to them.
“I think if [the agent] plans to talk with the owner, maybe it is not his plan to talk with me. It’s fair enough. Let’s see if he gets a meeting! It is his right. We will talk to anybody. We will evaluate any situation of any player, including Romelu. We will see what is going to happen and what the plans are.”
Even so, Tuchel doesn’t think this will be a distraction for the team, unlike Lukaku’s own infamous interview back in December, which was also blown greatly out of proportion, so much so that Lukaku was suspended for a game to help quiet things down (before then starting 10 games in a row soon after). Agents will always agent, and the media will always make a massive meal out of it — thus empowering them even further.
“I was only made aware of it five or ten minutes ago, actually. It’s what sometimes happens in football. The attention is so high that sometimes it attracts situations that you don’t want to have before big matches. It’s the way it is. For me, it is not a distraction and hopefully, for everybody that works on the team and the team itself, it is not.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
And to further underline that point, here’s Lukaku on is Instagram story making it clear that whatever the agent said is of the agent’s own making. That makes it perhaps not quite not-a-distraction, but shows the Romelu’s head is in the right place.
“Never ever will I let someone speak for me...
“I kept my mouth shut and focused on helping the team and end the season in the best way as possible. So if someone out there trying to say something about and the club ... not in my name.”
-Romelu Lukaku; source: Instagram
Obviously, Lukaku doesn’t dismiss any rumors or profess undying love to the club, and we shouldn’t need such ultimately meaningless gestures anyway. Things haven’t gone ideally for him (or for us) this season, and all sorts of situations will have to “carefully evaluated” in the summer. Lukaku’s will be one. His won’t be the only one.
But first, let’s go win an FA Cup, shall we?