Romelu Lukaku 'delighted to be back' after rejoining Inter Milan from Chelsea

Belgian striker returns to Serie A side on loan move after disappointing spell back in Premier League

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Romelu Lukaku has completed his loan move back to Inter Milan, less than a year since he left Serie A for a return to Chelsea and the Premier League.

Inter sold Lukaku to Chelsea in a £97.5 million deal – a club record for the London club – last summer but the move proved a bitter disappointment for club and player.

The Belgian striker scored just eight Premier League goals in 26 games and suffered a huge fallout with the club following an interview with Italian television in December when he criticised the tactics of manager Thomas Tuchel and talked about returning to Inter.

Less than seven months later, Lukaku has got his wish. Reports suggest Inter will pay Chelsea a loan fee of £6.9m plus £3.5m in bonuses if they win the Serie A title and cover his wages for the season.

The 29-year-old is also thought to have agreed to a pay cut to secure the move that will see his wages drop from £325,000-a-week at Stamford Bridge to around £210,000.

"It seemed impossible for me to come back here but we managed it and I'm grateful to him [Inter president Steven Zhang] for the way he kept pushing and believing it was possible," Lukaku said in an interview with Inter TV.

“We managed to do it in the end and I’m delighted to be back.”

Lukaku also revealed he had kept his house in Milan after his move to Chelsea.

“That means something,” he said. "I’m pleased to be back and now I can’t wait to get out there with my teammates.”

The move will see Lukaku link up again with Inter forward Lautaro Martínez in a formidable partnership that was dubbed “LuLa” by the Italian media.

"I'm very happy," Lukaku said in a video taken by Zhang and posted on the club's social media on Wednesday.

“That's what I'm here for,” Lukaku replied when asked by Zhang if he was going to score a lot of goals.

Chelsea ratings for 2021/22 season

Lukaku made himself a fan favourite during his two years at Inter after scoring 64 times in 95 games and driving them to their first Serie A title in more than a decade. The 2021 Scudetto triumph ended both an 11-year drought and Juventus' domination of Italian football.

But the joy at Inter was short lived as the financial problems of the club's owners, made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, saw manager Antonio Conte leave the club unhappy at the proposed cost-cutting that was on the way.

Lukaku would follow Conte out of the door and head back to Chelsea, a club he had left in 2014, on a five-year contract. “I'm happy and blessed to be back at this wonderful club,” Lukaku said at the time.

It looked like a match made in heaven with the reigning European champions short of a reliable goalscorer in attack and Lukaku started well, scoring four times in his first four games.

But it would be December before his next goal would arrive as form, injury and Covid-19 restricted his gametime.

Then came that infamous interview with Sky Italia. “Physically I am fine. But I'm not happy with the situation at Chelsea,” Lukaku said. “Tuchel has chosen to play with another system. I won't give up, I'll be professional.

“I really hope in the depths of my heart to return to Inter, not at the end of my career, but at a still good level to hopefully win more.”

Tuchel dropped Lukaku from their squad for the Premier League game against Liverpool and an uneasy tension between player, club and fans remained for the rest of the campaign.

He did contribute crucial goals against Al Hilal and then Palmeiras in the final to help Chelsea lift the Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in February - but would only find the net five more times as his season fizzled out.

Updated: June 30, 2022, 3:07 AM
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