Romelu Lukaku’s declaration that he’s “staying at Inter” back on June 2nd might have led you to believe rumors linking him away from the San Siro were dead in the water. But not so fast. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Inter has turned down an offer of €100 million and Marcos Alonso from Chelsea in return for Lukaku’s services.
Despite its well-documented financial difficulties, Inter doesn’t seem willing to give up Lukaku just yet. Chelsea’s offer would give Inter a €32 million profit on the €68 million Lukaku cost in 2019 and he’s now two years older. At 28, Lukaku has 64 goals and 16 assists in 98 appearances in all comps with Inter. He was a vital part of how Inter played under Antonio Conte, and though Simone Inzaghi's system differs, like his predecessor the new manager is relying on Lukaku. With the Serie A season only 19 days away and Inter already done with a major chunk of preseason, losing Lukaku now would be a tough blow for the Nerazzurri to recover from. Though Beppe Marotta surely has a piece of paper with a list of Lukaku replacements laying around somewhere in his office, it would take a not-insignificant amount of time to actually bring in another striker, let alone integrate him into the team. The transition from Conte to Inzaghi will be made all the more difficult should Lukaku leave and it’s hard to see Inter finding its stride in the new season without some major bumps.
After being forced to sell Achraf Hakimi earlier in the window, Inter’s refusal to give in to Chelsea’s massive offer is a positive sign. The Nerazzurri aren’t so financially weak that they’ll say goodbye to anyone the moment someone waves cash in front of the windows at Appiano. Lukaku also seems happy to stay at the club, which wouldn’t be the case should Inter be done challenging for the top honors in Italy. Losing Lukaku and Hakimi in the same window would be a knockout blow to any hopes of a second Scudetto in a row and while Suning is struggling, it’s still willing to keep the project it built alive.
What do you think? Is there a price you’d be fine with selling Lukaku at? How would he be replaced? Could he be replaced?