Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta has confirmed that striker Romelu Lukaku will return to Chelsea in the summer of 2023 when his loan contract with the Belgian forward expires.
In the summer of 2022, Inter borrowed Lukaku from Chelsea for a year with a fee of $8.3 million, without a buyout clause in the summer of 2023. Lukaku accepted a salary cut and wore jersey number 90 at the Italian club.
However, Marotta said that Lukaku was “not at his best physical and form” to perform when he wore the Inter jersey during the 2019-2021 period. During those two seasons, the Belgian striker scored 64 goals in 95 matches, helping the Milan-based team win the Serie A 2020-2021 and reach the Europa League 2019-2020 final, where they lost to Sevilla 2-3 due to Lukaku’s own goal.
Marotta believed that the World Cup 2022 could be the reason for Lukaku’s decline. “This is an unprecedented season,” he added. “The problems that Inter faced also occurred with other clubs and players who played in the World Cup. Lukaku is a typical example, and Marcelo Brozovic could not maintain his form either.”
In fact, Lukaku’s current season has been interrupted by physical problems, injuries, and doubts about his desire and motivation to play. The Belgian striker missed 12 matches in Serie A due to injury, and when he played, he often appeared slow, tired, and lacking speed and explosiveness like when he first joined the club. In total, Lukaku has only scored three goals in Serie A and two in the Champions League.
On BoboTV, former striker Christian Vieri hinted that Lukaku’s decline has caused Inter to be left behind by Napoli by 18 points in the Serie A title race this season. “Inter creates 10 chances per game at home, they play very well,” the former Italian football legend said.
“Inter has Denzel Dumfries, Federico Dimarco who can cross the ball, and Nicolo Barella with good creative ability. Inter has players who put Lukaku in a favorable position. If I played for this Inter lineup, I would win the Golden Boot every year.”
Similarly, former Italian defender Daniele Adani criticized Lukaku for lacking motivation and not having the qualities of a talented striker like Edin Dzeko in movement and connecting the game. He commented further, “Lukaku’s style cannot be without physical strength and regular training every week. If he is healthy, Lukaku will gain more confidence and then technique, even dribbling ability. But when he plays poorly, Lukaku becomes an ordinary player.”
In the summer of 2021, Lukaku put pressure to leave Inter and return to Chelsea on a $135 million contract, earning a weekly salary of about $350,000 – both club records in London. However, the Belgian striker did not live up to expectations, scoring only eight goals in the Premier League and 15 goals in 44 matches in all competitions. Therefore, Lukaku was expected to regain his form when he returned to the Chelsea environment.
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