Lukaku can make 'huge difference' to Inter attack, says Zola

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Romelu Lukaku could make a "huge difference" to Inter's attack should he return to the club from Chelsea, according to Blues legend Gianfranco Zola.

Lukaku is closing in on a return to San Siro less than a year after joining Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million transfer, with Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta revealing on Monday the club are in talks to sign both the Belgian and Juventus' Paulo Dybala.

The Chelsea striker only scored eight Premier League goals as Chelsea finished third in the English top flight last term, and reportedly wants to return to the club with whom he won Serie A in 2020-21.

Lukaku scored 30 goals and recorded 11 assists in 44 appearances for Inter in his last season with the Nerazzurri, averaging a goal every 118.77 minutes.

Among strikers in the top five European leagues to hit 20 goals or more in all competitions that campaign, only eight averaged fewer minutes between strikes than the Belgian, including the likes of Robert Lewandowski (70.6), Kylian Mbappe (88.62), Cristiano Ronaldo (104.19) and Lionel Messi (110.32).

Chelsea great Zola thinks Lukaku could make the difference for an Inter side that missed out on the Serie A title by just two points last season.

"Lukaku continued to express this desire to return to Inter where he had found himself very well, but honestly I thought it was a difficult operation," he told Sky in Italy.

"If he returned to Inter, he would be a player capable of making a huge difference, also in light of this year's difficulties."

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku

Another high-profile player to be linked with a move to Italy is Angel Di Maria, who is available on a free transfer after announcing his departure from Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentina international is reportedly a target for Juventus, and Zola believes that move would benefit both the Bianconeri and Serie A as a whole.

However, he also called on Italian football to do more to produce young attacking players of Di Maria's quality after Roberto Mancini's Azzurri missed out on qualification for the World Cup and made a poor start to their Nations League campaign.

"He has important experience and quality, players of this calibre raise the level of our football," Zola said of Di Maria.

"But we must think of creating higher quality players in our youth sector, especially in the last 40 metres [before goal], where we lack."

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