- Lukaku on loan at Inter
- Belgian to return to Chelsea in summer
- Although permanent deal not ruled out
WHAT HAPPENED? The Belgian initially joined the Blues at the start of the 2021-22 campaign but flattered to deceive, scoring just 15 goals in 44 appearances and having angered much of the fanbase by admitting his desire to return to Italy. Lukaku got that wish at the start of this season when Inter secured a £10 million ($12m) loan deal for the forward - a pittance compared to the £97.5m ($117.5m) Chelsea initially shelled out - although Marotta has revealed that his move will not automatically become permanent when it expires in the summer.
WHAT THEY SAID: "Talking about it now would be premature," Inter's CEO said to Sky Sport Italia over a potential transfer. "In June, he’ll return to Chelsea and then it will be a new scenario before us, and we’ll see what we can do. He wants to stay, so definitely knowing what he wants, we’ll see if we’re able to go back to negotiations and negotiate a return here with us for next season.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite being pivotal to Inter's 2020-21 title-winning campaign with 41 goal contributions in 44 matches, Lukaku's return to Italy's top flight this campaign has stagnated, largely due to multiple injury problems. Marotta himself blamed the Belgian's form on weight issues, only for the striker to respond by scoring against Porto in the Champions League last16, and with two goals in three matches the 29-year-old has time to salvage his season and prove he is worth keeping beyond the current campaign.
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty ImagesGetty ImagesGetty Images
WHAT NEXT FOR LUKAKU? Having started in Inter's 1-0 loss at Bologna on Sunday, the Belgian will be hoping to feature in the starting line-up for the Nerazzurri's visit of Lecce next weekend.