'Maybe it's not his plan to talk with me' – Tuchel surprised by Lukaku's agent comments

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Thomas Tuchel suggested he was unaware and not involved with negotiations after Romelu Lukaku's agent revealed plans to speak to Chelsea's prospective new owners about the striker's future.

Lukaku initially struggled on his Stamford Bridge return after joining Chelsea from Inter in a £97.5million move before the start of the 2021-22 season.

However, the Belgium international appears to be slowly finding his feet after managing a double against Wolves and striking in Wednesday's 3-0 Premier League win at Leeds United.

Yet reports of Lukaku's discontent continue to circulate. In December, the striker was quoted by Sky Sport Italy as being "not happy" with his place in Tuchel's first-team plans.

The 29-year-old again caused a stir on Friday after his agent Federico Pastorello suggested Lukaku could return to Italy, subject to negotiations with Todd Boehly's consortium, who have signed an agreement to purchase the club from Roman Abramovich in a deal that could be completed by the end of the month according to reports.

"He has [Inter] and the fans in his heart, he has never hidden it, like his love for Anderlecht where he would like to end his career," Pastorello told La Repubblica.

"But we cannot think about negotiations. Chelsea are in takeover discussions, we do not know the new owners, let alone if we can open talks with Inter or Milan. We have to wait.

"For the cost of the transfer, no one could have expected such a situation. I do not discuss the tactical choices, but it is obvious that there was a problem. The numbers, however, must be considered – he is still the team's best scorer, with less playing time compared to his team-mates.

"The situation must be carefully assessed, now there is Champions League qualification to secure, there is the FA Cup final. Romelu is focused on this, we have not talked about anything else."

Tuchel, speaking ahead of the FA Cup final with Liverpool on Saturday, admitted he did not expect to be involved in the planned talks when asked about Lukaku at a pre-match news conference.

"If he plans to talk with the owner then maybe it's not his plan to talk with me," Tuchel said. "Let's see if he gets a meeting, maybe he can talk.

"It's his right and we will talk to anybody and evaluate the situation of any player including Romelu. I was just [made] aware of it five, 10 minutes ago. That's what it is sometimes in football.

"The attention is so high that sometimes it attracts situations that you don't want to have before big matches. But it's the way it is.

"For me it's not a distraction, and for everyone else who works with the team hopefully it's not too."

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