Chelsea and Inter Milan have reached agreement over a loan move for striker Romelu Lukaku, according to Sky in Italy.
The 29-year-old is expected to undergo medical examinations next week ahead of his return to the San Siro.
Only the final details of the deal need to be resolved before Inter can welcome Lukaku back to the club just 11 months after they sold him to Chelsea for £97.5m.
The two clubs have agreed a loan move totalling £10.3m, made up of a loan fee of £6.9m plus £3.4m in bonuses.
Lukaku has agreed to a 30-per-cent pay cut to smooth his exit, with his earnings set to drop from £10m per year after tax to £7m. All of his wages will be paid by Inter.
The breakthrough on Tuesday night came after several rounds of negotiations over the past few weeks involving Lukaku’s lawyer Sebastian Ledure and Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta.
Lukaku scored just eight Premier League goals in 26 outings last season after returning to Stamford Bridge for a club-record fee.
In December, Lukaku told Sky in Italy he wanted to return to Inter one day, saying: “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.”
Last week, it was revealed Inter cannot afford to sign Lukaku – who scored 64 goals in 95 games and helped them to the Serie A title during his time at the club – on a permanent deal.
Chelsea decided to let Lukaku leave after talks between Todd Boehly – who was appointed chairman and interim sporting director on Wednesday – and Thomas Tuchel, as well as discussions between Boehly and Lukaku.
The owner and head coach wanted to resolve Lukaku’s future quickly so as they could focus on strengthening their squad this summer.
Chelsea are keen to sign Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, while Richarlison, Ousmane Dembele, Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt, Jonathan Clauss and Milan Skriniar are also targets.
‘One of the worst transfers in PL history’
Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
“There isn’t a positive spin you can put on this. The transfer will go down in Premier League history as one of the worst transfer deals of all time. Chelsea signed him for almost £100m, he was brilliant for two seasons at Inter, but came to Chelsea and things started going wrong quickly.
“He gave that interview to Sky in Italy in which he basically said he wanted to go back to Inter. It looks from the outside that his heart hasn’t been in it. I understand, he doesn’t particularly like the way Chelsea play under Thomas Tuchel, but it doesn’t look like he’s tried too hard to adapt. I think the vast majority of Chelsea supporters will be glad to see the back of him.
“But it is an extraordinary tale, a player they signed for almost £100m going back to Inter a year later on what will probably be a loan deal, and Inter will pay £10m to begin with. And then there are his wages, because he’s on about £325,000 per week at Chelsea. Someone close to the negotiations told us yesterday that he is leaving. He doesn’t have a future at Chelsea.”
Which positions are Chelsea targeting?
Sky Sports News’ senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
Chelsea are pressing ahead with their summer recruitment plans now that the £4.25bn Todd Boehly-led consortium takeover of the club has been completed.
The Blues have a verbal agreement already in place with Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, with the Spanish club preferring a quick deal as they aim to balance their books before June 30.
Talks on a deal for Kounde had collapsed last year but there is optimism from all parties it will get done this time.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe is part of a shortlist of central defensive options and is Thomas Tuchel’s preference. Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez and RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol are also among those being looked at.
Chelsea’s fixtures: Lampard’s Everton first up, then Spurs
Chelsea kick off their 2022/23 season with a trip to Frank Lampard’s Everton live on Sky Sports before hosting London rivals Spurs in their first home game.
Thomas Tuchel’s side face a reunion with Blues legend Lampard at Goodison Park on August 6, kick-off 5.30pm, before Tottenham visit Stamford Bridge a week later.
Chelsea will host Liverpool in West London on September 17, Manchester United on October 22 and Arsenal on November 5.
Their final fixture before the month-long break for the World Cup is away at Newcastle, and they continue their campaign on Boxing Day against newly-promoted Bournemouth.
Chelsea travel to Tottenham on February 25 and Arsenal on April 29, with the latter the start of a bumper last five games including Manchester City away on the penultimate weekend of the season and Newcastle at home on the final day.
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Who will be on the move this summer before the transfer window closes at 11pm on September 1.
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