Paul Merson has given his verdict on the future of Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea, insisting the striker will stay in west London due to a pivotal factor.
Lukaku was on Chelsea’s books between 2011 and 2014 before joining Everton for £28million. He hit 87 goals in 166 games for the Toffees to earn a move to Manchester United in 2017.
Lukaku had a good record at Old Trafford, although he was often ridiculed for his inconsistent touch and apparent lack of fitness.
The Belgium international went to Inter Milan next and led them to the Serie A title in 2020-21, scoring 30 goals that season.
Chelsea paid a club-record £97.5m to bring Lukaku back to England in the summer. However, his return hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
Lukaku has fallen out with Thomas Tuchel over comments about his situation at Stamford Bridge. The 28-year-old has also spoken openly about his desire to re-join Inter one day.
Lukaku is currently behind Kai Havertz in Tuchel’s pecking order. That’s despite the German generally wanting to operate behind a striker, rather than as the main focal point in attack.
Reports claim Lukaku could end up going back to the Nerazzurri this summer. The Italian giants would only be able to afford a loan move, though.
Barcelona also planning Romelu Lukaku transfer
Another potential destination for him is Barcelona, who are searching for a new hitman to lead their forward line.
On May 3, TEAMtalk exclusively revealed Bayern Munich were more likely to land the star than Inter.
Former Arsenal man Paul Merson has now weighed in on Lukaku’s future. The pundit thinks he will remain at Stamford Bridge due to uncertainty over the club’s ownership status and finances.
“Chelsea haven’t got much choice but to keep going with Romelu Lukaku,” Merson wrote in his Sky Sports column.
They’re getting sold, they haven’t got any money, they can’t be buying people for £100m and selling them for half that.
“That ain’t happening. For me, I think he’ll be staying there, and hopefully he kicks on next season.”
Lukaku’s record for the current campaign stands at 12 goals in 40 matches, with just five of those strikes coming in the league.
As such, he will need to double that figure next season to silence the doubters.
Elsewhere, a report claims Chelsea players are ‘gutted’ about Antonio Rudiger leaving, meaning several stars might follow him out of the club.