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Chelsea Will Look For Specialist Replacement If Romelu Lukaku Departs

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Chelsea will seek a ‘specialist replacement’ if forward Romelu Lukaku departs the club in the summer, it has been reported.

The 29-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to Inter Milan after an underwhelming season at Chelsea.

As reported by the Evening Standard, Chelsea would look to bring in a ‘specialist replacement’ if Lukaku is to leave the club in the summer.

The Belgian arrived for a club-record £97.5m fee last year but failed to show the quality that earned him the move, scoring 30 goals for Inter Milan last season.

He netted half as many goals for Thomas Tuchel’s side in a fairly controversial season at Stamford Bridge, sitting down with Italian media in December to criticise the head coach’s system and admit that he desired a return to Inter one day.

It looks like the forward could be granted the return he so desires, with Chelsea potentially cutting ties with the Belgian after a disappointing return to the Premier League.

Inter Milan are keen on bringing him back to the San Siro but are unlikely to be able to afford a transfer fee, with a loan move being discussed.

With the Belgian reportedly communicating with a host of people at Inter, hoping to seal his return, Chelsea would look to bring in a replacement.

Robert Lewandowski has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge and would likely fit the profile of a ‘specialist replacement’, with Chelsea playing without a recognised number nine when Lukaku spent a period of time out of the team.

However, Lewandowski has his heart set on a move to Barcelona, as he confirmed to the press.

“No other offers were even considered by me other than that of Barcelona. I want to leave Bayern, that’s clear,” the Poland international admitted.

“It’s time for a new stage for me. I hope the fans will understand. I would get the chance to take on a new challenge at another club for a few more years. That’s my wish.”

Chelsea have not been linked with many names in terms of traditional centre forwards, but with Lukaku’s future up in the air, the Blues are sure to have their eyes on potential replacements.

The Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital consortium, the new owners of Chelsea, will have their work cut out in the transfer market during their first summer in charge of the club as the record signing looks increasingly like leaving less than a year since his arrival

Chelsea are holding talks with Inter Milan over a transfer of Romelu Lukaku this summer and a swap-deal could be on the cards with three players being potential options of being included in a deal, according to reports.

Lukaku’s desire is clear – he wants out of Chelsea after just one season following his £97.5m club-record return last year. Thomas Tuchel’s side are willing to let him go but the Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital consortium are only ready to give the green light if it makes financial sense for the Blues.

Inter Milan are unable to afford to buy him outright, plus take on his £325,000-a-week wages but Lukaku is ready to take a significant pay cut to make the move happen. However, a loan deal is on the table if the Serie A side are prepared to pay a fee.

However, there is another possible option which would see Lukaku return to the San Siro on a permanent basis.

As Ben Jacobs reports, Inter are open to offering defender Milan Skriniar to Chelsea if they want to pursue a swap-deal. Chelsea have been suggested to be interested in the Slovakian.

Lautaro Martinez has been another name linked and would be an attacking replacement for Lukaku but Inter would prefer not to lose the Argentine.

The third name linked is defender Alessandro Bastoni, who is attracting interest from fellow Premier League rivals Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. He is valued at £50 million.

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Thomas Tuchel has already acknowledged that those two sides will offer them a challenge, so if they want and are able to snatch a target away from their competitors, this is the perfect chance to do so.

“It will be a super tough race,” said Tuchel last month. “Manchester United will be in the race and Tottenham will be in the race with Antonio Conte for sure.

“We want to stay in the race and Liverpool and Man City do everything to make their squads bigger and they set the standard so high. This is the challenge in which we compete.”

Chelsea will only allow a deal on their terms and if it suits them. Bastoni and Skriniar would help their defensive rebuild this summer amid links to Jules Kounde, Josko Gvardiol and Matthijs de Ligt. While, although unlikely, Martinez would provide a solution to replacing Lukaku should an agreement be reached between the two clubs.

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