Inter Milan new boy Romelu Lukaku has revealed a phone call from Jose Mourinho caused him to snub Chelsea in favour of Manchester United.
The Reds forked out £75million to secure the Belgian’s signing from Everton in the summer of 2017.
Speaking on the LightHarted podcast, Lukaku said: “I was gone, I was going to Chelsea.”
Before he added: “I was in New York – I get a phone call from this number and I’m like, ‘Who’s this?’ Pick up, Jose Mourinho. ‘Rom, how are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, what’s up, boss?’
“I’m gonna get you back, we’re gonna pay £75m plus £15m in bonuses by next week, so I expect you in LA. So go and do your s**t in LA and I’ll see you after [in pre-season]. I felt the dude was lying, like ‘I’ll see you’.
“Then the next thing I know, I wake up and had to go back to Everton on the July 7 and July 6, I wake up in the morning and I see they’ve agreed the deal, so I’m like, ‘Man! They came in hard!”
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is reportedly considering deploying Ruben Loftus-Cheek to the role former coach Antonio Conte mooted when he was at Stamford Bridge.
The 23-year-old was expected to miss much of the season after rupturing his Achilles in Chelsea’s friendly against the New England Revolution back in May, shortly before the Europa League final.
But Loftus-Cheek confirmed to Sky Sports that he hopes to return to first-team training in ‘4-6 weeks’ and Lampard is already thinking about how best to utilise him.
Chelsea’s attack has not been effective in converting several scoring chances in the three competitive matches the club have played so far in the season.
According to The Sun, that could see Loftus-Cheek asked to lead the line, with Lampard giving serious consideration to deploying the midfielder up front.
One of his predecessors, Antonio Conte, also dabbled with the idea, while the struggles of Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham in front of goal so far this season have given Lampard cause to evaluate other options.
Loftus-Cheek is expected to return to full fitness in late November and could be up to speed for the bust festive fixture period, while Lampard will also be boosted by the return of Callum Hudson-Odoi, report the Metro.
The teenage winger, who is looking increasingly likely to sign a contract extension, returned to training this week having also injured his Achilles tendon in the Europa League semi-final against Frankfurt.
Lampard is a big fan of Loftus-Cheek and spoke glowingly about him while working as a pundit for the BBC at last summer’s World Cup: ‘Ruben is someone I know really well from when he was coming through the youth ranks at Chelsea.
‘Straight away he made an impression because of his physical attributes, but he knew how to play too – he had great ability and even then he could drift past people on the ball.
‘He does that even better now, with his pace and power when he is running at you, which makes him different from a lot of modern-day midfield players – and puts a fear into the opposition that they do not usually have.’