Romelu Lukaku returns to Inter Milan on loan from Chelsea

Romelu Lukaku has completed his loan move back to Inter Milan from Chelsea, the Premier League club have confirmed.

The Belgium striker will spend the 2022-23 campaign with Inter, the club he left to re-join Chelsea in a £97.5million deal last summer.

The 29-year-old endured an underwhelming 2021-22 season at Stamford Bridge, although he still finished as the Blues’ top scorer with 15 goals.

A statement from Chelsea read: “Romelu Lukaku will spend the 2022-23 campaign with Inter Milan after completing a season-long loan move from Chelsea.”

The short, matter-of-fact statement went on to mention the highlights of Lukaku’s past season without offering any comment.

News of the transfer was confirmed in a short video posted by Inter in which the player said he was “very happy”.

The Serie A outfit followed with another tweet which read: “Welcome back Rom”.

Lukaku first played for Chelsea as a teenager but was let go by the club in 2014, joining Everton after successful loan spells with both the Toffees and West Brom.

His performances for the Merseyside club earned him a £75million move to Manchester United in 2017 but he spent only two years at Old Trafford before a £74million switch to Inter.

He thrived in Italy, scoring 64 goals in 95 appearances and helping Inter win their first Serie A title in 11 years in 2021.

That prompted Chelsea to bring him back to London for a club-record fee but, despite a promising start with a debut goal, he struggled for consistency and suffered an injury setback.

Lukaku voiced disquiet about his role in Thomas Tuchel's side
Romelu Lukaku voiced disquiet about his role in Thomas Tuchel’s side (Adam Davy/PA)

Relations with the club then hit a low last December with the airing of an interview in which he bemoaned the way he was being used by manager Thomas Tuchel and spoke about his ongoing love for Inter.

A parting of the ways had seemed inevitable for some time and Chelsea last week agreed to the loan move back to Inter.

After the move was confirmed on Wednesday, Lukaku revealed he had remained in touch with Inter coach Simone Inzaghi after his departure last summer and was pleased to be back.

Asked what convinced him to return, he said: “The affection of the fans and my team-mates, but also the opportunity to work with the coach.

“I stayed in contact with him all last season. I think the coach is doing well with the team. I want to contribute and do good for this club.

“It’s like coming home. I think my family and I had a really good time in Milan thanks to the people, the fans and my team-mates. From the first day when I arrived here everyone helped me a lot, I’m really happy.

“I didn’t even leave my home when I went to England, which shows how happy I am to be back here. Now I just want to see the guys on the pitch.”

Chelsea v Aston Villa – Premier League – Stamford Bridge
Lukaku celebrates scoring for Chelsea (PA)

Lukaku is now hoping to build on his previous successes with Inter, who finished runners-up to AC Milan and won the Coppa Italia without him last season.

He said: “Inter have given me so much and I hope now to do even better than before.”

Lukaku also thanked president Steven Zhang for closing out the deal after complicated negotiations with Chelsea over the financial terms.

He said: “It seemed impossible for me to come back here but we made it and for this I must also thank him. He continued to push and believe that it was possible. In the end we succeeded. I’m very happy.”