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Chelsea Prepare New Lukaku Bid, Inter Look for Replacements

Joaquin Correa and Duvan Zapata could reinforce a soon-to-be gutted Inter attack

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Cottini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

What was already going to be a painful transfer window for Inter is taking another cruel twist. Despite claims from the player himself that he wants to stay at Inter and the club’s refusal of one mega bid, Chelsea’s pursuit of Romelu Lukaku is only speeding up. After the Blues’ offer of €100 million (plus Marcos Alonso) for the Belgian was rejected by Inter, Chelsea is now prepared to present a bid of over €120 million to Beppe Marotta according to Sky Sport Italia.

This, my friends, is getting ugly quickly. There’s no sugar coating it; losing Lukaku would be a death blow to Inter. Any faint hopes of a title repeat would be out the window and the Nerazzurri would be reduced to a battle for European placements. Everything that’s been built over the past years and led up to last season’s success would be gone. Losing Conte? Inzaghi is a capable if limited replacement. Losing Hakimi? Necessary but painful, though Inter can paper over his absence with a strong overall squad. Losing Lukaku? That would send Inter tumbling off its throne and back into the no-man’s land of the 2010s. Lukaku was no mere player. He embodied Inter’s run to the Scudetto on the pitch and was the face of the Nerazzurri. The moniker “King of Milan” doesn’t get handed to just anyone. Lukaku deserved it more than anyone and he showed that every time he stepped out onto the pitch in a black and blue kit. Romelu Lukaku is Inter.

But that might not be the case for long. Chelsea’s newest offer, the most ever received for a Serie A player, is set to be one Inter can’t refuse. Lukaku is also prepared to move back to England, enticed by a €12 million annual salary. As for how Inter can move forward (or in this case backward) from a Lukaku sale, things aren’t looking much better in that arena. Teams have the upper hand over Inter this late in the window and can force the Nerrazurri to overpay for its targets. So far two names linked with a move to the San Siro are that of Lazio’s Joaquin Correa and Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata. Both are Serie A proven but come from direct rivals, so we can only imagine the slog that negotiations would be.

Lukaku’s sale also would ask serious questions of Suning and Inter’s management. Marotta had claimed that €80 million in sales would be enough for Inter. Steven Zhang promised to keep Inter challenging at a high level. Losing Lukaku along with Hakimi goes against everything they’ve said to Inter fans, who were already seeing a title-winning side lose a key piece (Conte) rather than build off its success.

We survived one banter era. We might be facing the start of another.