Chelsea and Inter Milan have reached agreement over a loan move for striker Romelu Lukaku to return to the San Siro; Belgian re-joined Chelsea from Serie A club for club-record fee last summer but scored just eight Premier League goals;
Wednesday 29 June 2022 08:07, UK
Romelu Lukaku has landed in Milan this morning to complete his loan move to Inter Milan.
The Chelsea striker flew into Milan Linate airport around 6.20am local time and posed with an Inter scarf before getting in a car.
"I'm so happy to be back," he said. He will undergo a medical with Inter on Wednesday ahead of being officially announced as a new Inter player.
Inter will pay Chelsea a loan fee of £6.9m plus £3.5m in bonuses if they win the Scudetto, and will cover all his wages this season.
Only the final details of the deal need to be resolved before Inter can welcome Lukaku back to the club just 11 months after they sold him to Chelsea for £97.5m.
Lukaku has agreed to a 30-per-cent pay cut to smooth his exit, with his earnings set to drop from £10m per year after tax to £7m.
The breakthrough last week came after several rounds of negotiations over the past few weeks involving Lukaku's lawyer Sebastian Ledure and Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta.
Lukaku scored just eight Premier League goals in 26 outings last season after returning to Stamford Bridge for a club-record fee.
In December, Lukaku told Sky in Italy he wanted to return to Inter one day, saying: "I really hope in the depths of my heart to return to Inter, not at the end of my career, but at a still good level to hopefully win more."
Last week, it was revealed Inter cannot afford to sign Lukaku - who scored 64 goals in 95 games and helped them to the Serie A title during his time at the club - on a permanent deal.
Chelsea decided to let Lukaku leave after talks between Todd Boehly - who was appointed chairman and interim sporting director on Wednesday - and Thomas Tuchel, as well as discussions between Boehly and Lukaku.
The owner and head coach wanted to resolve Lukaku's future quickly so as they could focus on strengthening their squad this summer.
Chelsea are keen to sign Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, while Richarlison, Ousmane Dembele, Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt, Jonathan Clauss and Milan Skriniar are also targets.
The Blues are also in talks with Leeds over a deal for winger Raphinha, with the club prepared to sanction a deal in excess of £50m to get the deal done.
Inter Milan's ultras have issued a statement asking fans not to welcome Lukaku when he arrives in Milan.
The club's most loyalist fans say he will have to earn their respect again through his performances after he left last summer to re-join Chelsea.
A statement read: "Since Lukaku's return to Inter is very likely, a few things need to be made clear.
"Curva Nord supports Inter Milan and will not stage any protest against the player (despite his behaviour last summer). That being said, nobody shall go and welcome him with scarves and banners representing the Curva or its groups. He will need to earn everything that, in case, will be done for him in the future with humility and sweat on the pitch.
"He was supported (and treated) like a king, now he's just a player like many others.
"It shall also be clear to everyone that we will never cheer against Lukaku if he will wear the Inter jersey again.
"We encourage all Interisti [Inter fans] anyway not to fall in the other trap, to run and drool after him.
"Clearly there is an instinctive and emotional element, but to pretend that nothing has happened would only accelerate that process aimed at making us all dumb and slavish consumers.
"We took note of Lukaku's betrayal and we were extremely disappointed.
"With time we can even forgive such things to a footballer, but the facts won't change.
"Now, Romelu, let's kick and run."
Sky Sports News' chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
"There isn't a positive spin you can put on this. The transfer will go down in Premier League history as one of the worst transfer deals of all time. Chelsea signed him for almost £100m, he was brilliant for two seasons at Inter, but came to Chelsea and things started going wrong quickly.
"He gave that interview to Sky in Italy in which he basically said he wanted to go back to Inter. It looks from the outside that his heart hasn't been in it. I understand, he doesn't particularly like the way Chelsea play under Thomas Tuchel, but it doesn't look like he's tried too hard to adapt. I think the vast majority of Chelsea supporters will be glad to see the back of him.
"But it is an extraordinary tale, a player they signed for almost £100m going back to Inter a year later on what will probably be a loan deal, and Inter will pay £10m to begin with. And then there are his wages, because he's on about £325,000 per week at Chelsea. Someone close to the negotiations told us yesterday that he is leaving. He doesn't have a future at Chelsea."
Sky Sports News' senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
Chelsea are pressing ahead with their summer recruitment plans now that the £4.25bn Todd Boehly-led consortium takeover of the club has been completed.
The Blues have a verbal agreement already in place with Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, with the Spanish club preferring a quick deal as they aim to balance their books before June 30.
Talks on a deal for Kounde had collapsed last year but there is optimism from all parties it will get done this time.
Paris Saint-Germain's Presnel Kimpembe is part of a shortlist of central defensive options and is Thomas Tuchel's preference. Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez and RB Leipzig's Josko Gvardiol are also among those being looked at.
Chelsea kick off their 2022/23 season with a trip to Frank Lampard's Everton live on Sky Sports before hosting London rivals Spurs in their first home game.
Thomas Tuchel's side face a reunion with Blues legend Lampard at Goodison Park on August 6, kick-off 5.30pm, before Tottenham visit Stamford Bridge a week later.
Chelsea will host Liverpool in West London on September 17, Manchester United on October 22 and Arsenal on November 5.
Their final fixture before the month-long break for the World Cup is away at Newcastle, and they continue their campaign on Boxing Day against newly-promoted Bournemouth.
Chelsea travel to Tottenham on February 25 and Arsenal on April 29, with the latter the start of a bumper last five games including Manchester City away on the penultimate weekend of the season and Newcastle at home on the final day.
Who will be on the move this summer before the transfer window closes at 11pm on September 1.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.