already scouring the market for a replacement for the forward. The Belgian, who cost £97.5m last summer, is looking for a route out of Stamford Bridge despite playing just one season on his return to England.
football.london understands that Lukaku advised his lawyer to find a way back to Inter Milan recently, after a season in which he was heavily criticized with the Blues shirt. Despite totaling 15 goals in all competitions, the signing was widely considered a failure after high expectations were placed on the striker’s shoulders. The way Lukaku carried himself off the pitch left a bitter taste among Chelsea fans.
Chelsea would prefer to sell Lukaku but understand it could be difficult with the club looking to recoup most of the £97.5m they spent on him less than 12 months ago. So a loan move seems more viable this summer, but his £325,000-a-week wages complicate any deal. Chelsea could be forced to pay a large sum of his salary.
READ MORE: Thomas Tuchel must avoid £42m transfer error amid Chelsea interest in Gabriel Jesus
As of now, though, it looks like Lukaku will be playing his football elsewhere when the next season rolls around in August, leaving Chelsea with plenty to do in the summer transfer market, which is now officially open. Several attackers have already been identified as targets, as Thomas Tuchel takes full control of the transfer-related business.
Christopher Nkunku is wanted by the Blues, with the RB Leipzig striker setting the Bundesliga on fire last season. Ousmane Dembélé remains a target for the club, with the French international set to become a free agent by the end of the month.
These are two targets that would have been watched regardless of whether Lukaku stayed or left. Chelsea need to add more firepower to what was, at times, a hard-hitting attack last season.
One man identified as the player who will potentially replace Lukaku is Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus. Chelsea got in touch with the Brazilian international’s agent in recent days, football.london you see.
Jesus, who is said to be available for £43m this summer, has just over 12 months left on his contract with the Premier League champions and could try to leave the club as he pursues more regular first-team football. Arsenal and Tottenham have also expressed interest in the 25-year-old striker.
The City forward scored eight goals and recorded nine assists in the Premier League last season. However, after starting just 21 matches in the top flight, it ends up being almost a direct goal contribution in every match.
The Brazilian played virtually all of the top three under Pep Guardiola and established himself as an extremely selfless player without possession. His pressure on the ball makes him stand out from other attacking targets, but he also showed his talent in front of goal during his time at the Etihad Stadium.
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, speaking about his former club’s interest in Jesus to CBS Sports in April, explained exactly what kind of player Chelsea would be getting if they did indeed bring the striker to west London. When asked what he likes about Jesus, Henry replied, “What he can give the team offensively.
“We saw that he scored four goals over the weekend [vs Watford]. When he’s in the box, he’s one of three who’s been playing, or since [Sergio] Aguero left, he has it [number] nine instinct. He has what the number nine would smell like.
“What I like about him is that he puts pressure on, whether it’s on the left, on the right or in the middle. He has no problem defending in these situations, coming back and helping his team.”
Seems like Jesus is well liked at City, though. Guardiola has praised his ability in the past and more recently Kevin De Bruyne called his teammate to stay at Manchester because he “makes the team better”. De Bruyne said, “Since he [Jesus] I came here, I have a good relationship with him. I think we’ve met many times.
“He plays with a lot of energy. He’s always there. He helps the team. I never have any doubts about his quality, and he’s still so young. I hope he can play with me often because I think he makes this team better.”