Chelsea board face humiliation as £90m Romelu Lukaku blazes a trail in Europe

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Chelsea have been left with egg on their face after failing to convince Romelu Lukaku not to return to the club this summer. The forward has since impressed at AS Roma, whereas Mauricio Pochettino is working to bring in a top-quality striker in the January transfer window.

The Blues have struggled so far this season, with their victory over nine-man Tottenham on Monday night only papering over the cracks at Stamford Bridge. Todd Boehly has splashed over £1 billion on new signings since his arrival, but the immense level of spending is yet to be justified.

There has been glimpses of promise at Stamford Bridge in recent weeks but offensive issues remain an issue that Pochettino is having to contend with. Thus, seeing Lukaku thriving out on loan at Roma may be a bitter pill to swallow for the ex-Tottenham manager.

Transfermarkt have ranked the striker as the most effective signing made by a Serie A club this summer, ahead of Atalanta’s Gianluca Scamacca and Inter Milan star Marcus Thuram. Lukaku has scored six goals in nine league appearances for Roma, with manager Jose Mourinho helping the No 9 perform at his very best.

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The 30-year-old has led the line superbly at the Stadio Olimpico, with his superb hold-up play and willingness to latch onto the end of crosses perfectly suiting Roma’s style of play. Thus, Roma are already looking at ways to retain the services of the former Manchester United star.

It is unclear as to what fee Chelsea will demand for Lukaku, though they are incredibly unlikely to fetch a figure close to the £97.5million that they forked out for his services in 2021. And with the forward’s contract set to expire in 2026, his price will depreciate by the summer.

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Pochettino was keen to speak with Lukaku upon his appointment as Blues manager, though his approach was rebuffed as the striker made it abundantly clear that he wanted to leave the club – either on loan or permanently. Chelsea opted not to resist, despite their evident need for a striker of his calibre, and entertained talks with numerous interested clubs.

Lukaku has since threatened to speak out about the transfer speculation that spread over the summer, hinting that he could uncover why he was so desperate to leave Chelsea and what caused his relationship with the club to take a turn for the worst.

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