Romelu Lukaku is officially an Inter Milan player again after completing a season-long loan from Chelsea, with no obligation to buy.
Inter will pay Chelsea a loan fee of £6.9m plus £3.5m in bonuses if they win the Scudetto, and cover all of his wages this season.
The Chelsea striker flew into Milan Linate Airport around 6.20am local time and posed with an Inter scarf before getting into a car.
“I’m so happy to be back,” he said. After completing his medical, Lukaku was officially announced as Inter’s new player.
Lukaku: It’s like coming home
Once the move was confirmed, Lukaku revealed he had stayed in touch with Inter manager Simone Inzaghi after he left last summer and was delighted to be back.
When asked what convinced him to come back, he said: “The affection from the fans and my team-mates, but also the opportunity to work with the coach. I stayed in contact with him all last season. I think the coach is doing well with the team, I want to contribute and do good for this club.
“It’s like coming home. I think my family and I had a great time in Milan thanks to the people, the fans and my teammates. From the first day I arrived here, everyone m helped a lot, I’m really happy.
“I didn’t even leave my house when I went to England, which shows how happy I am to be back here. Now I just want to see the guys on the pitch.”
Lukaku will now hope to build on his previous success with Inter, who finished second to AC Milan and won the Coppa Italia without him last season.
He added: “Inter have given me so much and now I hope to do even better than before.”
Lukaku also thanked chairman Steven Zhang for securing the deal after complicated negotiations with Chelsea over the financial terms.
He said: “It seemed impossible for me to come back here but we made it and for that I have to thank him as well. He kept pushing and believing
How the deal was done
The Belgian has taken a 30 per cent pay cut to smooth out his exit, with his earnings set to drop from £10million a year after tax to £7million.
The breakthrough last week came after several rounds of negotiations over the past few weeks involving Lukaku’s lawyer Sebastian Ledure and Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta.
Lukaku scored just eight Premier League goals in 26 appearances last season after returning to Stamford Bridge for a club record.
In December, Lukaku said Sky in Italy he wanted to come back to Inter one day saying, “I really hope deep in my heart to come back to Inter, not at the end of my career, but at a still good level to hopefully earn more.”
Last week it was revealed Inter could not afford to sign Lukaku – who scored 64 goals in 95 games and helped them win the Serie A title during his time at the club – on a permanent deal .
Chelsea decided to let Lukaku go after talks between Todd Boehly – who was named interim chairman and sporting director on Wednesday – and Thomas Tuchel, as well as talks between Boehly and Lukaku.
The owner and head coach wanted to resolve Lukaku’s future quickly so they could focus on strengthening their squad this summer.
Chelsea are keen to sign Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, while Richarlison, Ousmane Dembele, Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt, Jonathan Clauss and Milan Skriniar are also targets.
The Blues are also in talks with Leeds over a deal for winger Raphinha, with the club ready to sanction an over £50million deal to complete the deal.
Inter ultras: We will not welcome Lukaku with scarves or banners
Inter Milan ultras have released a statement asking fans not to welcome Lukaku upon his arrival in Milan.
The club’s most loyal fans say he will have to earn their respect again through his performances after leaving last summer to join Chelsea.
A statement read: “Since Lukaku’s return to Inter is very likely, some things need to be clarified.
“Curva Nord supports Inter Milan and will not organize any protest against the player (despite his behavior last summer). That said, no one will go to greet him with scarves and banners representing Curva or his groups. He will have to win it all.” this, just in case, will be done for him in the future with humility and sweat on the pitch.
“He was supported (and treated) like a king, now he’s just a player like many others.
“It will also be clear to everyone that we will never cheer for Lukaku if he wears the Inter shirt again.
“We encourage all Interisti [Inter fans] anyway don’t fall into the other trap, run and drool after him.
“There’s clearly an instinctive and emotional element to it, but pretending nothing happened would only speed up this process of making us all stupid and subservient consumers.
“We took note of Lukaku’s betrayal and were extremely disappointed.
“Over time, you can even forgive a footballer for such things, but the facts won’t change.
“Now, Romelu, let’s kick and run.”
Analysis: Where did it go wrong for Lukaku at Chelsea?
Eddie Newton, a former Chelsea assistant manager for three spells, told Sky Sports:
“Lukaku is a player who always likes to face the goal, not play his back. With his power and pace, he’s very hard to stop when he’s in his flow.
“But when he plays with his back to goal, that’s never been the best part of his game. The way Chelsea play, they need their No.9 to be the central point where they play him in him and he can get set up for them to play behind, especially when playing against a low block.
“Chelsea play against teams that like to sit down a lot, which makes the role of the No.9 very important in terms of being able to play with his back to goal, to get others to play.
“It’s up to Lukaku to then score goals in the second and third phases, but that’s why I don’t think that happened for Lukaku at Chelsea.”
Who takes responsibility?
“It has to be a combination of the player and the coaching staff. It’s the most important thing in recruiting. You can’t deny that Lukaku is a fantastic player because he scored goals on the stage international and scored many goals in the top leagues.
“Chelsea are playing a certain brand of football that they didn’t want to come out of. Maybe having a striker who isn’t as well known as Lukaku but fits their system is maybe a better way to go about their recruitment .
“Antonio Conte got the best out of Lukaku. Romantically, you look at him and you wanted it to work because he loves and supports Chelsea.
“Coming back here you thought he had had the experience he needed at other clubs and other countries and you felt he was now ready to take on the role of Chelsea’s No.9 in winning many trophies, but sadly that didn’t materialize.”
What positions are Chelsea targeting?
Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
Chelsea are pressing ahead with their summer recruitment plans now that the £4.25 billion takeover of the club by the Todd Boehly-led consortium has been completed.
The Blues have already reached a verbal agreement with Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, with the Spanish club preferring a quick deal as they aim to balance their books before June 30.
Talks over a deal for Koundé collapsed last year, but there is optimism from all parties that it will be done this time around.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe is part of a shortlist of central defensive options and is favored by Thomas Tuchel. Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez and RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol are also among those wanted.
Chelsea games: Lampard’s Everton first, then Spurs
Chelsea kick off 2022/23 season with trip to Everton from Frank Lampard live sky sports before hosting London rivals Spurs in their home opener.
Thomas Tuchel’s side face a meeting with Blues legend Lampard at Goodison Park on August 6, kicking off at 5.30pm, before Tottenham visit Stamford Bridge a week later.
Chelsea will host Liverpool in west London on September 17, Manchester United on October 22 and Arsenal on November 5.
Their final game before the month-long World Cup break is at Newcastle, and they continue their campaign on Boxing Day against newly promoted Bournemouth.
Chelsea travel to Tottenham on February 25 and Arsenal on April 29, the latter marking the start of a bumper of the last five games, including Manchester City away on the penultimate weekend of the season and Newcastle at home on the final day.
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