Mauricio Pochettino could now build his Chelsea team around striker Romelu Lukaku next season, according to a new claim from abroad.
Is Lukaku heading back to Chelsea?
The 29-year-old was sent out on loan to Inter Milan by Thomas Tuchel last summer, not being viewed as an important part of his plans at Stamford Bridge. He has struggled on loan compared to his permanent stint in Italy beforehand, only scoring five times in 20 Serie A appearances.
Once this campaign reaches its conclusion, Lukaku will return to Chelsea, with a decision needing to be made regarding his long-term future. His current Blues deal doesn’t expire until the summer of 2026, so they are still in a situation where they can demand a lot of money for his signature.
With Pochettino coming in as manager, some individuals may see this as a chance to be handed a lifeline in west London, being given a chance to impress the Argentine in pre-season. That certainly applies to Lukaku, and an interesting update has emerged regarding him.
Could Lukaku be a key man?
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Pochettino likes the idea of building his attack around the Belgian, seeing him as an important figure moving forward. Lukaku is happy at Inter and would rather stay there, but the Serie A club’s financial situation may make this tricky.
This is an update that is likely to divide opinion among Chelsea supporters, with the striker someone who struggled so much in his second spell at Stamford Bridge, scoring just eight times in 26 Premier League appearances last season. He turns 30 this summer and is arguably not the force he was, so planning around him feels like a risk.
Lukaku is also a player who doesn’t allow a team’s attacking unit to be fluid, considering he generally occupies the same central role, so he could fail to get the best out of the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz, for example.
His goalscoring record does speak for itself – 72 goals in 106 caps for Belgium is a highly impressive return and a record for his country – and he has been described as “world-class” by Tuchel in the past, but perhaps Pochettino should look at other young options instead. Someone like Victor Osimhen could be an upgrade, as an example, having netted 22 times in 27 Serie A matches for Napoli this season, inspiring them to title glory.