Milan (AFP), June 29 – Romelu Lukaku returned to Inter Milan on Wednesday after completing a season-long loan from Chelsea just a year after his flop move from Italy to the Premier League club.
Belgian striker Lukaku will reunite with his former fans at the San Siro after Chelsea agreed a deal in which Inter will pay an initial fee of eight million euros plus a potential three million bonus for the loan.
The London club released a statement confirming a ‘season-long loan move’.
His return was made official in a video posted on Inter’s social media with Lukaku saying “we’re back baby” while talking to chairman Steven Zhang on the roof of the club’s headquarters.
The 29-year-old will once again lead Inter’s attack as they bid to win back the Serie A title after taking an €8.5m pay cut for the next campaign.
Italian media report that Inter and Chelsea have reached a gentleman’s agreement that the loan could be extended for another season if the move works out, and his lawyer Sébastien Ledure said on Wednesday that ‘anything can happen’ by the end of next season.
“It’s really moving,” Lukaku later told Inter TV.
“Inter gave me a lot and I hope that from now on I can do even better than before… I didn’t give up my house when I left for England and I think that that tells you something.”
Lukaku told reporters present for his arrival at Milan’s Linate airport in the early hours of Wednesday that he was “very happy” to be back.
He was greeted by delighted supporters as he drove to his medicals in the afternoon, his car blocked by supporters chanting his name and “win us the Scudetto”.
Lukaku left London after failing for a second time at Chelsea, failing to live up to high expectations following a £97.5million move from Inter last summer.
– Fan favorite –
He made himself a fan favorite for two years at Inter after scoring 64 times in 95 games and leading them to their first Serie A title in over a decade, with the 2021 Scudetto ending both to an 11-year drought and Juventus’ grip on Italian football. .
However, financial problems at Inter owners Suning Group, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, led coach Antonio Conte to leave the club almost as soon as the title was won.
Along with Conte’s replacement Simone Inzaghi just weeks into his new job, Lukaku followed Conte when then-European champions Chelsea offered a huge sum which alleviated some of the club’s money problems. Inter problems which mean a loan was the only way for him to return.
He failed to replicate his Serie A form with the Blues and infuriated Chelsea fans when he conducted an interview with Sky Sport Italia in December in which he said he wanted to return to Inter.
The comments also led die-hard Inter die-hards to say they weren’t interested in his return, seeing his move to Chelsea as a betrayal of his claim to love the Milan club.
They told other fans not to welcome Lukaku as he was now “just one of many”, instructions which were ignored by those camping outside in the scorching summer sun while the he striker was completing his medical examinations at the Milan offices of the Italian Olympic Committee.
Inter are still trying to cut costs, with star defender Milan Skriniar set to be sold this summer, while an overstretched and highly paid attacking line also needs to be trimmed.
They will benefit from legislation that offers deep tax breaks to foreign residents under certain conditions, but Lukaku’s arrival has stalled Inter’s bid to bring in Argentine striker and free agent Paulo Dybala.