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Swap deal ‘more likely’ as Chelsea, Inter Milan negotiations continue over Romelu Lukaku — reports

Oh?

FC Internazionale v FC Crotone - Pre-Season Friendly
COME TO DADDY, MILAN!
Photo by Emilio Andreoli - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

The rumor mill absolutely loves a swap story. In reality, they’re exceedingly rare, especially as actual, official deals — too complicated, too many moving parts, too many cooks, too many ways they can be scuppered, too many unknowns, etc. Unofficial swap deals can happen, various understandings, and so forth. But swaps or part-exchanges are not nearly as common as the options included in the Football Manager video game series would suggest.

That’s the caveat leading into the latest update on the Romelu Lukaku situation, which apparently has a decent chance of being one of these rare exceptions. As per CBS’s Ben Jacobs, after several days of negotiations that officially began on Wednesday, a swap deal is now more likely than a “traditional loan”. (Presumably it would be a swap of “permanent” transfers rather a swap of “loans”. It would be fantastic if we only had to go through all this drama just the once.)

The names mentioned in potential return are familiar: Milan Škriniar, Alessandro Bastoni, Denzel Dumfries — two center backs and a full back; positions of need. Bastoni can be safely ruled out at this point, while previous stories claimed that Inter would not want to include Dumfries since they want to ensure they get full value for him. Škriniar meanwhile has been strongly linked with PSG, though if we could get him, he would be a tremendous signing for us. Lukaku is probably “valued” higher in theory than any of those players (which might require a cash component — i.e. another complication), but theoretical value doesn’t necessarily reflect market value and what anyone might be willing to actually pay.

Of course, just because something’s looking more or less likely right now, it doesn’t mean that’s how it’s going to look next week, the next day, or in the next hour. Things can change quickly in the transfer market (not to mention that all of these are just rumors anyway). A “traditional” loan isn’t off the table, though Inter would have to up their initial offer — that was expected to happen, though this latest development might indicate that those “feelings” were wrong and that won’t be happening.

Either way, the optimism of this deal being done by the end of this week seems to have been, unsurprisingly, a bit unfounded.