Graham Potter reveals Chelsea plan for Romelu Lukaku ahead of summer return

April 1st, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Graham Potter has opened the door for Romelu Lukaku to return to Chelsea this summer, calling the forward a “fantastic player”.

Lukaku, who turns 30 next month, finds himself in a tricky situation. He re-joined the Blues from Inter Milan for £97.5million in August 2021 but was loaned back to the Italian giants last summer after scoring just eight Premier League goals during the 2021/22 term.

The Belgium international has struggled for form and fitness this season, finding the net only three times in Serie A. Inter have confirmed they will not make Lukaku’s loan permanent, but Potter appears to be interested in taking him back at Stamford Bridge.

“Well, he’s still a Chelsea player and we’re monitoring him of course,” Potter told reporters on Friday. We understand where he’s at, he’s on loan, those decisions will be made in the summer. He’s a fantastic player, someone who we know and like.

“But again, we need to speak about that in the summer because he’s playing on loan for his club.”

Chelsea themselves are in need of a striker. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has struggled for minutes under Potter this season and is likely to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer, while signing another world-class striker will be an expensive investment.

Christopher Nkunku is expected to join Chelsea from RB Leipzig in the summer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be no room for Lukaku. Whatever happens, the former Manchester United forward will need to sort out his future shortly.

“The loan was for one season so on June 30 regardless of how well he plays, he’ll go back to Chelsea,” admitted Inter’s chief executive Beppe Marotta earlier this month. “This has been an unprecedented season. I’m referring of course to the World Cup.

“The problems we’ve experienced have been experienced by other clubs too and the players who played at the World Cup… Lukaku hasn’t found the fitness he needs to play his best football. He’s still not at his best or the player we got to see in years gone by.”

Potter’s interest in reintegrating Lukaku may have stemmed from his performances for Belgium during March’s international break. He scored a hat-trick against Sweden in Stockholm and also found the net in the 3-2 win against Germany in Cologne.

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