New Chelsea regime keen to move on from flop Lukaku
A day after it was confirmed that group spearheaded by US businessman Todd Boehly had succeeded Roman Abramovich as the owner of Premier League giants Chelsea, the club seem keen to correct some of the mistakes of the past regime - chief of which might be moving on from record signing Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian star arrived at Stamford Bridge from Inter Milan last summer for an eye-watering fee of just under £100 million ($126 million) but struggled to adapt to Blues boss Thomas Tuchel's style of play.
The 29-year-old did finish as Chelsea top goalscorer last season but his 15 goals in 44 appearances wasn't considered an acceptable return for what was Chelsea's most expensive signing in the club's history.
Lukaku's season at Chelsea was also blighted by an interview he gave to Sky Italian in December during which he said that the was unhappy at the club and that he was agitating for a move back to Inter Milan.
The new ownership at Chelsea have pledged to inject serious funds into Chelsea's moves in the transfer market but it remains likely that the free-spending days which defined the Abramovich era have come to an end, and that the club will seek to move on from Lukaku and attempt to salvage as much of the initial transfer outlay as possible.
And per a report from UK tabloid the Mirror which quotes sources in Italy, talks have already taken place between Inter and Lukaku's representatives about the Belgian's potential return to the San Siro.
Those reports claim that an agreement for a one-year loan deal have begun which would see the Italian side pay Chelsea £20 million ($25 million), with an agreement built into the deal which would see Lukaku transferred to the Italian club at the end of the 2023 season for a mandatory fee of £65 million ($82 million).
However, it appears likely that Lukaku would be forced to take a pay cut if he was to return to Italy - something which would also underline that his latest stint in England was a failure.
He previously moved on from Manchester United after a disappointing spell at Old Trafford.
Lukaku was thought of as being the final piece of Chelsea's jigsaw when he made his record-breaking move to the team he supported as a child last summer but failed to convince Tuchel of his ability to adapt to the German's system.
Kai Havertz was often preferred to the Belgian up front in Chelsea's pivotal matches, even as the team struggled to find a consistent goalscorer in what proved to be Roman Abramovich's final season with the club.
New owner Boehly has reportedly rubber-stamped a move for another striker to lead the line for the Blues, with the likes of Bayern Munich ace Robert Lewandowski and RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku linked.