Romelu Lukaku Next Club Odds: Inter Lead Race To Sign Him
With just a few weeks of the season remaining, talk will soon turn to the summer transfer window – and the best betting sites are already offering odds on where some of the world’s most in-demand players might end up.
Few would have anticipated Romelu Lukaku potentially being on the market less than 12 months on from his return to Chelsea.
Yet the Belgium international has endured a difficult season and looks to have lost the faith of his manager, Thomas Tuchel. The Blues may look to cash in on their record signing ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
Where might he end up? We have assessed the odds and run through the options available to him.
Return To Inter In The Offing
Lukaku was not exactly setting the Premier League alight beforehand, but an unauthorised interview with Sky Italia in December was the tipping point.
As well as admitting he was not happy with the situation at Chelsea and suggesting Thomas Tuchel’s system did not get the best out of him, the Belgium international affirmed he would like to return to the San Siro one day.
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“I will always have Inter in my heart and I genuinely hope to one day go back to play there,” he said.
“I am in love with Italy, this is the time to let people know what really happened, without bad-mouthing anyone, because that’s not my style. “I want to apologise to Inter fans, because I think the way I left should’ve been done differently.”
Lukaku was a revelation with the Nerazzurri, for whom he scored 64 goals in 95 games – including 24 as Inter ended an 11-year wait for a Serie A title last term.
The Italian champions are the 6/1 favourites on football betting sites to sign Lukaku this summer, but finances could be an issue – particularly if Chelsea are looking to recoup the £97.5m they paid for him in 2021.
When asked about the situation with the Belgian striker, former Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit was disappointed that his return to the London club has not gone to plan.
“Romelu Lukaku's return to Chelsea hasn't really worked out and, to be honest, I'm quite surprised because it was his dream to come back to England - especially to Chelsea,” Petit told Gambling.com.
“He looked to be motivated with a feeling of revenge. But, as soon as he arrived things appeared to go wrong for him on-and-off the pitch.
“Everyone was also surprised with the interview he did just a few months after the start the Premier League. It was very early in the season, and I was stunned by the timing of it.
“Since then, things have got even worse for him. His relationship with Thomas Tuchel has not been very good and on top of that, Kai Havertz has taken over his position and he is doing well in it.
“If Lukaku wants to return to Italy at the end of the season, well then he should go back to Italy then. But, I don't see why everyone - including the player himself - were happy after Chelsea spent nearly £100m on him at the start of the season and after a few months months everything had been thrown into the toilet!”
PSG Might Be Looking For New Forward
Paris Saint-Germain signed Lionel Messi to much fanfare last summer, but the much-vaunted front three of the Argentine, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar has not delivered this season.
PSG are on course to win the Ligue 1 title pretty easily, but their elimination from the Champions League by Real Madrid in the round of 16 means this has been another disappointing campaign for one of the wealthiest clubs on the planet.
Madrid are still expecting to sign Mbappe after his contract at the Parc des Princes expires on June 30. If the Frenchman does indeed seek pastures new, his current employers will be on the lookout for a replacement.
Manchester City lead the race for Erling Haaland and La Liga appears to be a more likely destination for Robert Lewandowski should the Poland international leave Bayern Munich.
Lukaku would be a more realistic option for PSG, who are priced at 8/1 to sign the 28-year-old. However, it remains to be seen how the burly Belgian would fare as part of an attack which is not built around him.
Antonio Conte Known To Be A Big Fan
Lukaku played the best football of his career to date under Antonio Conte at Inter. The Italian found a way to bring the maximum out of the former Anderlecht man, who responded with a fantastic goal return in both domestic and continental competition.
Given he has struggled to impress the likes of Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Tuchel in recent years, Lukaku would no doubt relish the chance to work with Conte again.
UK bookmakers believe it is not entirely out of the question that the striker ends up at Tottenham Hotspur, who are available at 12/1.
There are two big obstacles, though. One is the rivalry between Chelsea and Tottenham which would make it extremely difficult to agree a deal.
The second, of course, is Harry Kane: unless the England captain is sold - which seems unlikely - Spurs do not need a new starting centre-forward.
Real Madrid And Newcastle Among The Outsiders
Real Madrid are level with Tottenham in the betting at 12/1, with Newcastle available at slightly longer odds of 14/1 with the best bookmakers. In some ways, those prices feel like they are the wrong way around.
Madrid are fully focused on bringing Mbappe to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu this summer. The Frenchman is their leading target, helped by the fact that no transfer fee is necessary to sign him.
Even if Madrid are unable to agree terms with the World Cup winner, they are unlikely to suddenly turn their attention to Lukaku – a vastly different type of striker who could cost close to £100m and would not currently start ahead of Karim Benzema, who is in the form of his life.
A move to Newcastle is a long shot, but perhaps more worthy of a punt. The Magpies could offer Lukaku regular first-team football in a league and country he already knows well. They would also be able and willing to meet his wage demands and pay the required transfer fee.
Another Year At Stamford Bridge?
One thing to bear in mind with all transfer-related bets is the 2022 World Cup. Ordinarily this would not affect things too much. But with this year’s tournament delayed until November and December, it is likely to be a big factor in players’ thinking.
In Lukaku’s case it could work one of two ways: either he decides not to rock the boat so close to the tournament and stays with Chelsea, or he forces through a move to ensure he is playing regularly before Qatar.
Given he has started just four Premier League matches in 2022, Lukaku might currently be leaning towards the second option.
But if he were to receive assurances that he will be a more regular participant next term, Belgium’s all-time record goalscorer may well decide to remain in west London for at least another year.
Whatever happens Petit is advising his former club and Lukaku to sit down to have some frank conversations this coming summer.
“There are so many things I don't understand about Lukaku's situation,” the Premier League legend exclaimed.
“He is still a very good striker, but I'm not sure he can fit with everything Tuchel is asking from his forwards.
“At the end of this season Lukaku and Chelsea must sit around a table and talk with honesty to find the best situation for both sides.”
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