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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Lukaku expected in Milan ‘this evening’ ahead of Inter return: CEO

Romelu Lukaku is expected to land in Italy on Tuesday evening ahead of his return to Inter Milan on loan from Chelsea, the club’s CEO Giuseppe Marotta has revealed.

Asked when the Belgium striker would be in Milan by reporters on his way out of an Italian Football Federation meeting in Rome, Marotta said “this evening, I think” while getting into a car.

He refused to answer whether free agent Paulo Dybala would be coming to Inter as that transfer has reportedly stalled while the club try to offload players in order to accommodate the Argentina forward.

Lukaku is expected to undergo a medical on Wednesday before making his long-awaited Inter comeback official after Chelsea agreed to a reported deal in which Inter will pay an initial eight million euros (€8.42 million) plus a further potential three million in bonuses for the loan.

The 29-year-old will again lead Inter’s attack as they attempt to regain the Serie A title after taking a pay cut to a reported 8.5 million euros for the coming campaign.

Lukaku leaves London after failing to make an impression for a second time at Chelsea, not meeting high expectations following a £97.5 million move from Inter last summer.

He had made himself a fan favourite over two years at Inter after scoring 64 times in 95 games and driving them to their first Serie A title in over a decade, the 2021 Scudetto ending both an 11-year drought and Juventus’ grip on Italian football.

However, the financial problems of Inter’s owners the Suning Group, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic led to coach Antonio Conte leaving the club almost as soon as the title was won.

He claimed the cost-cutting required by Inter would have prevented him from building the team he wanted to challenge domestically and in Europe.

Lukaku followed Conte out the door after the-European champions Chelsea offered a whopping sum which eased some of Inter’s financial issues, and started well on his return to Stamford Bridge.

Coach Thomas Tuchel said “he was the type of guy we were missing” after he netted four times in his first four games, but his next goal didn’t come until early December and injury, Covid-19 and poor form kept him out of the team.

He then infuriated Chelsea fans by conducting an interview with Sky Sport Italia in which he expressed his unhappiness and said that he had Inter in his heart and wanted to return.

Those comments also led Inter’s hardcore ultras to say they weren’t interested in having him back, having considered his move to Chelsea a betrayal of his claim to love the Milanese club.

Now he will be part of coach Simone Inzaghi’s bid to snatch back the league crown from AC Milan after they finished two points behind their local rivals last term.

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