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Beppe Marotta, the chief executive officer of Inter Milan, has confirmed that Romelu Lukaku will return to Chelsea at the conclusion of his season-long loan at the San Siro in the summer.
Before being persuaded back to Stamford Bridge for a second time in a £97.5million deal in the summer of 2021, Lukaku was a popular figure with the Italian giants. However, after failing to live up to expectations, the 29-year-old was loaned back to the Serie A club prior to the 2022/23 season.
The Belgian striker has been hampered by injuries this season and has scored just five goals in 17 appearances for Inter, who have played down the possibility of extending his contract.
Lukaku Likely to Depart Inter in Summer
Although it has been reported by The Athletic that the Italian giants have not ruled out keeping Lukaku beyond this season, it is believed that the costs associated with extending their current arrangement with Chelsea would make doing so difficult.
Marotta has stated that Lukaku will return to Chelsea in the summer regardless of the outcome of the rest of the season.
“The loan was for one season so on June 30 regardless of how well he plays, he’ll go back to Chelsea. This has been an unprecedented season,” Marotta told reporters.
“I’m referring of course to the World Cup. The problems we’ve experienced have been experienced by other clubs too and the players who played at the World Cup,” he stated.
“Lukaku is a case in point. Brozovic isn’t the Brozovic we know. Lukaku hasn’t found the fitness he needs to play his best football,” he added, “He’s still not at his best or the player we got to see in years gone by.”
Lukaku Criticism After Goal Drought
In recent weeks, Lukaku has been subjected to severe criticism for his problems in Italy. Christian Vieri, a former Inter striker, is the latest to criticize Lukaku, suggesting that he, at age 49, would outscore the striker in this team.
“Inter at home create 10 chances per game, play well. You have Dumfries who crosses, Dimarco who crosses, you have Barella,” Vieri stated to a local media outlet.
“There are more players who put Lukaku in a good position,” he stated, “I’ll tell you one thing: if I played for this Inter, I’d win the top scorer every year.”
Lukaku scored 24 league goals during his first stint with Inter to end the club’s 11-year Scudetto drought in the 2020/21 season.
But, it remains to be seen whether new Chelsea manager Graham Potter, who purchased over £300 million worth of talent during the January transfer window, will be willing to reintegrate Lukaku into the Blues next season.
It is certain that the London side are desperately short of a proper striker at the moment, but given Lukaku’s previous spell at the club, he may not be the chosen man.
However, if the Belgian forward can find some of his form from two seasons ago then he will give Chelsea that badly needed cutting edge and the side will compete at higher levels once again.