From what every member of the Inter hierarchy had said this summer, a Romelu Lukaku sale was out of the question. Despite the need for an €80 million profit from the summer window, Lukaku was not going to be the sacrifice.
Beppe Marotta put it bluntly: “Lukaku is not for sale, absolutely. This is an important piece on the chessboard of Inzaghi.” The player himself dedicated his future to Milan. “I am staying at Inter. I’ve already had contact with new manager and I feel good at Inter. Maybe I shouldn’t say that yet... but it was a very positive conversation. There’s also the challenge of doing it again (winning the league with Inter). Finally I won something, I liked it but I want to do it again. With a full San Siro this time.”
But apparently, one man heavily involved in the daily running of Inter isn’t quite so enthusiastic about keeping hold of Lukaku. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Suning, led by the Zhang family, has forced Inter’s hand to accept Chelsea’s €130 million offer.
The report goes on to say the Nerazzurri haven’t met its goal of cost reduction this summer after failing to offload several expensive pieces of deadwood. Joao Mario’s contract had to be terminated while no buyer could be found for Arturo Vidal. Even Achraf Hakimi’s sale wasn’t enough to satisfy Inter’s owners who have now placed Lukaku on the market. Marotta, Piero Ausilio, and Inzaghi are understandably upset, especially after Suning promised Hakimi would be the only sale.
This has now prompted Marotta and Ausilio to consider leaving the club after their contracts expire in 2022. Meanwhile, La Gazzetta describes Inzaghi as “furious”. He wouldn’t be the first coach Suning has unnecessarily aggravated.
Losing the trio of Marotta, Ausilio, and Inzaghi would send Inter tumbling back into yet another banter era. Even with a constricted budget, Marotta and Ausilio have the guile to keep Inter afloat. Inzaghi was one of the best options to succeed Conte available. Their replacements would be massive downgrades, not to mention the mass exodus of players that would follow a down season.
Suning evidently can no longer give Inter the support it deserves and the time has come for it to leave before the damage is irreparable. If not, Inter’s short stint at the top of Italy might be the last for a long time.