- No permanent Inter return for Lukaku
- Belgian swapped Italy for Chelsea in 2021
- But returned on loan after struggles in England
WHAT HAPPENED? On a night that saw Inter reach a landmark goal in qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2011, Lukaku was reduced to playing a part as a substitute in a game many would've tipped him to make the difference in just two years ago. Inter CEO Marotta spoke on candidly the Belgian's future after the 0-0 draw with Porto.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "The loan was for one season so on June 30 regardless of how well he plays, he’ll go back to Chelsea," Marotta told Sky Italia. "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 is a case in point. [Marcelo] Brozovic isn’t the Brozovic we know. 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.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: After firing Inter to the Scudetto under Antonio Conte in 2020-21, forming an exceptional partnership with Lautaro Martinez, Lukaku returned to former club Chelsea in a blockbuster £98 million deal. However, he struggled to get back up to speed in the Premier League and pandered for a return to Inter in a shocking interview, which he got in the form of a loan this season.
The Belgian forward's romantic return to San Siro hasn't gone as he'd hoped, though, with injuries and inconsistency affecting his season and limiting him to just five goals in 17 appearances thus far.
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WHAT NEXT FOR LUKAKU? Marotta's latest comments suggest Lukaku's future is now very much up in the air. At Chelsea, Graham Potter is already dealing with an incredibly bloated squad, which he finally appears to be getting to click, while a summer clear-out is needed in order to recoup funds. Lukaku could well be a part of that.