Chelsea flop Lukaku warned by Inter Milan fans ahead of return
Romelu Lukaku has been warned that he won't exactly be welcomed back to Inter Milan with open arms after his miserable single-season stint in the Premier League with Chelsea.
The Belgian striker is due to complete a loan deal back to the San Siro after a below par campaign in London which saw him hit the net just 14 times in 44 appearances across all competitions after he returned to Stamford Bridge in a big money deal worth just shy of £100 million ($122 million).
Lukaku was something of a folk hero in his first spell with Inter Milan, scoring 64 times in two seasons and pipping the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo to the 2021 award for Serie A's most valuable player.
But many Inter fans remain disgruntled that he opted to turn his back on his Milanese fans in pursuit of Premier League glory - with sections of the club's extensive fanbase now warning the 29-year-old that his impending return to the club won't come without a bit of acrimony.
In a statement issued ahead of Lukaku's return, the Curva Nord ultra group said that they had noted his 'betrayal' and said that he will have to produce on the pitch if he is to get back into their good graces.
“We took note of Lukaku’s betrayal and we were very upset,” the fan group said.
“No one should go to welcome him with scarves or banners. He was supported (and treated) like a king, now he is one like many. Everything that in the future will eventually be done towards him will have to earn it on the field with humility and sweat.
“It is also clear to everyone that we will never cheer against Lukaku if he wears the Inter shirt again.
“However, we invite all Inter fans not to fall into the opposite trap, that of running immediately and drooling after him.
“We are not gentlemen at the mercy of the moves of players and clubs. To a player these things can be forgiven over time, but they remain. Now Romelu long ball and pedal.”
Lukaku is widely expected to complete the loan move in the coming days in what will be among new owner Todd Boehly's first major acts in charge (at least as it relates to the playing staff) after succeeding Roman Abramovich at the helm of the Premier League giants.
The Belgian was a controversial figure on his return to Chelsea, for whom he had initially signed as a teenager before going on to make his name at the likes of West Brom, Everton and ultimately Inter Milan.
He started strongly in Thomas Tuchel's team but the goals quickly dried up and he expressed his discontent at Stamford Bridge in an interview he gave to Italian media in December in which he stated his interest in a return to Italy.
Lukaku's ineffectiveness at Chelsea was perhaps best summed up by his performance in February against Crystal Palace in which he touched the ball just seven times throughout the match.
As for Chelsea, as soon as Lukaku's wages are off the books they will position themselves in the transfer market for a proven goalscorer as they look to close the gap between them and Premier League pacesetters Manchester City and Liverpool.
Tuchel's side have been strongly linked to a move for Man City and England winger Raheem Sterling as well as Bayern Munich's wantaway marksman Robert Lewandowski.