Romelu Lukaku returns to Inter Milan on £7m loan after Chelsea agree astonishing 12-month deal

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Romelu Lukaku - Romelu Lukaku returns to Inter Milan on £7m loan after Chelsea agree astonishing 12-month deal - GETTY IMAGES
Romelu Lukaku - Romelu Lukaku returns to Inter Milan on £7m loan after Chelsea agree astonishing 12-month deal - GETTY IMAGES

Romelu Lukaku will return to Inter Milan on loan for just £7million after Chelsea agreed an astonishing 12-month deal for the player who cost them a club record £97.5m last year.

The two clubs struck an agreement on Tuesday that will also see Lukaku take a significant wage cut to head back to Inter, where he won Serie A.

The 29-year-old must just complete a medical, with the player due back in Milan within the next week to be officially unveiled.

Chelsea have also negotiated add-ons into the deal, but Lukaku’s year back at Stamford Bridge will be considered an unmitigated disaster.

The only pluses are that Chelsea will not pay any of Lukaku’s salary while he is at Inter and that the situation has been dealt with quickly, allowing the club to now focus on incoming business.

But the deal to sign Lukaku must now rank among the most catastrophic in Chelsea’s history, given how little the club will recoup by sending him back to Inter on loan.

New co-owner Todd Boehly felt he was left with no choice but to facilitate Lukaku’s move back to Italy after the striker outlined his determination to return to Inter.

Thomas Tuchel signed off on the deal, with Lukaku believing his relationship with the German had become irreparable following the controversial interview he gave in which he questioned the tactics of Chelsea’s head coach.

Chelsea will now quickly make a decision on how best to replace Lukaku with Raheem Sterling near the top of a list of targets who also include Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele and Everton’s Richarlison. Arsenal target Gabriel Jesus has also been offered to the club.

Boehly and Tuchel will take charge of transfer business with Marina Granovskaia following Bruce Buck out of the Chelsea exit. The pair must also make urgent moves for defenders, with Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt among an eight-man shortlist, and decide on the future of captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who could be replaced by Lens right-back Jonathan Clauss.

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