Romelu Lukaku has decided to take matters into his own hands and personally ask for a meeting with Chelsea to understand if he will be allowed to return to Italy this summer.
According to Corriere dello Sport, Lukaku is still in conversation with former club Inter Milan, and if talks are successful he will ask Chelsea to allow him to return to Milan on loan for free.
The move could come at a huge cost to Chelsea, who signed the Belgian for £97.5million just 11 months ago.
Sportsmail takes a look at Lukaku’s season of woe in west London, where issues have emerged with boss Thomas Tuchel and why Inter are so keen to get a deal done to bring him back to Milan by June 30.
Romelu Lukaku has struggled for form at Chelsea since rejoining the club last summer
Lukaku had previously enjoyed plenty of success with Inter Milan in Italy, winning Serie A
The signing of Lukaku has already failed to pay the fruits of its labour, with the forward’s performances last season coming nowhere near justifying his club record price tag.
He scored just 15 goals in 44 appearances last term, and failed to hit the ground running back at Stamford Bridge after initially leaving the club in 2014.
He set a new unwanted Premier League record in Chelsea’s defeat of Crystal Palace in February, when his seven touches meant he had taken the fewest touches of a player to have played a full 90 minutes in a game, and he was regularly benched by manager Tuchel, who preferred to play midfielder Kai Havertz out of position up front instead.
Lukaku scored just 15 goals for Chelsea last season, failing to live up to expectations
The Belgian struggled to adapt to the style of Thomas Tuchel (centre), criticising it publicly
ISSUES WITH TUCHEL
Chelsea manager Tuchel has regularly supported Lukaku in the media, but his patience wore thin as the season progressed.
The former Manchester United striker doesn’t a have good relationship with Tuchel, and the German coach didn’t take well to an interview Lukaku held with Sky Italia earlier in the season, where he expressed his desire to return to Inter and questioned Tuchel’s methods.
The interview created a divide between Lukaku and the club, its fans, and other players, and the 29-year-old has never been able to truly repair the damage.
The Blues No 9 did later apologise to his manager and the Chelsea fans, but for some the damage was done.
Eleven months of problems and misunderstandings have harmed the morale at Chelsea, and a solution now needs to be found for the good of both the club and the player.
It is believed that Lukaku’s lack of work off the ball is one of the major reasons for his struggles last year, with that being a trait Tuchel values highly.
Tuchel has struggled to find a solution to the out-of-form forward’s problems at Chelsea
Lukaku (left) and Tuchel’s (right) relationship deteriorated as the season progressed at Chelsea
ABRAHAM PERFORMING BETTER
While Lukaku’s first season back in England could be considered disastrous, former Blues forward Tammy Abraham enjoyed rich success in his debut year at new club Roma.
Abraham scored 27 goals in all competitions last season, significantly more than Lukaku, and the fact Chelsea offloaded Abraham whilst bringing Lukaku in only exposes the failure further.
Purchased to dominate Premier League defences, Lukaku was often forced to watch from the bench as his Chelsea team-mates played a style of football completely different to what he was used to in Serie A.
Abraham, meanwhile, picked up Roma’s style instantly and flourished as Jose Mourinho’s side won the inaugural UEFA Conference League.
Tammy Abraham has enjoyed success since leaving Chelsea, whilst Lukaku has struggled
Twenty-six games and eight goals in the Premier League is a poor return for a physical striker with impressive figures just a year prior in Serie A.
Lukaku has struggled for consistency throughout his career, excelling at clubs such as Everton and Inter but struggling at Manchester United and Chelsea.
ASSISTANCE FROM ITALIAN LAW
Lukaku is reportedly willing to take a huge pay cut to return to Inter.
His old club would like to finalise the deal by June 30 to take advantage of the Growth Decree – an Italian law that allows foreign players to save money on taxes – but Chelsea are more interested in selling Lukaku permanently, were he to leave, rather than loaning him out.
Lukaku made it clear earlier this year that he would be interested in a return to Inter Milan
If the deal was to materialise by June 30, Inter would benefit from the tax relief, allowing them to save millions of euros.
With the Italians interested in brining their former star back to the club, it is now down to Lukaku and Chelsea to sort out the forward’s future.
Chelsea are trying to push Lukaku to German champions Bayern Munich, who have been looking for a replacement for wantaway forward Robert Lewandowski, but a solution must be found to suit all parties.