Romelu Lukaku’s future has been uncertain for a while and the latest reports from various media outlets suggest that Chelsea has shifted their focus towards the Belgian striker as their priority after failing to make grounds meet for Erling Haaland after primitive discussions with Borussia Dortmund via his agent, Mino Raiola. Dortmund has publicly stated that Haaland is not for sale after they made a good profit from the sale of Jadon Sancho to Manchester United.
Initial reports from Simon Johnson of The Athletic UK imply that Chelsea had 2 informal bids rejected by Inter and they are ready to test the Italian Champion’s mind with a third bid. Lukaku is happy at Inter but he did dream of playing for Chelsea at some point in his career after he left them during Jose Mourinho’s era. Yesterday, Fabrizio Romano gave a major update saying that Chelsea bid around €100m including Marcos Alonso as part of their initial approach this week. Di Marzio came up one step further by reporting that Lukaku’s decision in the coming weeks will be vital in the survival of Chelsea’s race for a top center-forward although Romelu Lukaku stated publicly that he is waiting for the next season under Inter’s new manager, Simone Inzaghi. In his latest update, Di Marzio said that Chelsea is willing to offer around €120m which might tempt Inter. And at the moment, Lukaku hasn’t given a clear answer on his future.
Now, coming to the area where United might benefit, reports from 2019 confirm that Romelu Lukaku’s sale was concluded on deadline day for a total price of £73.9 m(£64.7m with a further £9.2m payable in add ons) after going through an intense negotiation with Inter. United was forced to agree to this fee for an amount less than what they expected after Lukaku went AWOL and communicated his intention to try a new challenge during United’s 2019 pre-season. United wanted close to £80m.
After digging through the reports from 2 years back, Romelu Lukaku’s sale didn’t contain a buyback or a right to refusal clause but reports from Mike McGrath of Telegraph states that United managed to include a sell-on clause to attain a certain percentage of the profits made by Inter from sales of Lukaku in the future. United could gain some advantage like how Manchester City did from the sale of Jadon Sancho by BVB. Manchester City managed to make around £60m from sell-on clauses and solidarity payments from their former academy players.
A similar model of sale would be a coup that could help United to offset their gap in net-spend through creative channels like these. A few years back, when United agreed on a deal with Crystal Palace to sign Aaron Wan Bissaka, the 20-time English Champions managed to insert a 25% sell-on clause into Wilfried Zaha’s contract. And reports from Samuel Luckhurst of MEN also suggested that a breakthrough in negotiations for a lower fee took place after United managed to include a sell-on clause into Lukaku’s contract and Solskjaer being informed by the player that he was ready to leave. United’s strong relationship with his agent Fabio Pastorello also helped in managing some understanding with both parties at the end. But the percentage of sell-on clauses on Lukaku’s contract is still unknown. There is a rumour of around 5% being the sell-on clause but it’s not confirmed by anyone from the media yet.
With Chelsea steadying their ground to pounce on the player with another important bid might help us get leaks to how his current contract with Inter is designed in terms of the clauses, values, etc. Personally, I think that with three weeks left in the transfer window, Chelsea will be desperate to land their top target to appease their fans after winning major honors last season. From fans that I spoke to recently, things are pretty clear from their end that a striker is a missing piece in their jigsaw.
Everything is open at the minute. And with Lukaku moving into his peak, he would be tempted to try a new challenge to get a taste of some major European honors rather than finishing his career at Serie A. Meanwhile, United will try to sort out their outgoings before getting involved in any possible incomings with indications and noises suggesting it to be a quiet week for United.