Chelsea are looking for an ‘equivalent’ to Romelu Lukaku’s loan to Inter Milan, with Lautaro Martinez a possible target, according to sources.
The £98 million Belgian forward is uneasy at Stamford Bridge and looks certain to leave this summer, with sources claiming that new owner Todd Boehly is willing to authorise Lukaku’s return to Inter if they pay a £20 million loan fee.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Chelsea are also looking into bringing a player in from Inter as part of the deal, and are interested in signing one of three players: Martinez, Lukaku’s former strike partner, Milan Skriniar, and Alessandro Bastoni.
Lukaku has struggled since returning to West London last summer, netting just eight goals in the Premier League, and infamously told the Italian media in December that he was unhappy at the club.
At the San Siro, Martinez and Lukaku had a strong bond and partnership, with the latter even name-dropping his old team-mate, warning him not to join Chelsea because he would soon be back with him at Inter.
‘Lautaro Martinez coming here with me at Chelsea in the future?’ he said.
‘No… Lautaro, you can stay in Milan, I’ll be back there (laughs).’
Martinez, who has been linked with Spurs and Arsenal, scored 25 goals in all competitions last season but has remained steadfastly committed to the club.
Meanwhile, Sportsmail revealed this week that Chelsea had begun talks with Inter about a transfer for Skriniar, albeit the two clubs’ valuations are still far off, and Italy international Bastoni is being pursued by both Manchester United and Tottenham.
The Blues are open to a loan transfer, according to the report, which comes after reports in the Italian press that new Chelsea boss Todd Boehly was ready to allow the move amid the player’s unclear future.
Following growing tensions between Lukaku and manager Thomas Tuchel, the Belgian was benched for a number of games, and now the German is scheduled to meet with Boehly to establish a timetable for his departure, according to Gazetta.
Correire dello Sport has also weighed in on Lukaku, confirming Gazetta’s accusations that Chelsea is looking for roughly £21 million to let him go on loan to Inter.
According to the report, Lukaku is still pushing for a move away from the club.