Chelsea agree £98m deal in principle for Lukaku

Chelsea agree £98m deal in principle for Lukaku

Chelsea have agreed a deal in principle for Romelu Lukaku, with the Inter man's £98 million ($135m) return to Stamford Bridge set to be officially announced early next week, Goal has learned.

The Blues have pursued the Belgian attacker across the summer amid the Serie A champions' need to offload players amid rising debts.

Now, Thomas Tuchel's side look to have secured their target, with the forward poised to return to the Champions League holders a decade on from his first arrival in west London.

Lukau's move to Chelsea - in a switch that will make him the seventh-most expensive transfer of all-time - will see him become the latest face to depart San Siro in the wake of title-winning coach Antonio Conte and Achraf Hakimi.

A small proportion of the fee will be tied up in add-ons, with final details to be formalised across the weekend, as Conte's successor Simone Inzaghi continues to complete his preparations for the Nerazzurri's Scudetto defence.

The former Anderlecht graduate will become the first major outfield signing of Chelsea's summer, following goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli's arrival on a free transfer from neighbours Fulham.

Having started in his home country with Anderlecht, Lukaku first moved to England when he was snapped up by Chelsea in 2011.

He failed to leave an impression during his first spell with the club, however, making just eight top-fight appearances before he was loaned out the following season to West Brom.

A second loan stint away from the club followed in 2013-14 at Everton, where he found much greater success, facilitating a full-time switch to Goodison Park at the end of that campaign.

Having established himself as a Belgium international, Lukaku continued to rise through the ranks with an impressive three-year spell on Merseyside, before a record-breaking switch to Manchester United took him back to the upper echelons of the Premier League.

Yet even as his country prospects flourished, he often found himself made something of a scapegoat at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho - and in 2019, after just two years, he was allowed to leave by successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, to join Inter.

In Milan, Lukaku rediscovered his finest form and translated it into success on the pitch, first helping the Nerazzurri re-establish their credentials in 2019-20, before helping to drive them to an impressive Serie A triumph last term.

Now, his career path looks to have come full circle, and brings him back to where he began his continental adventure - and directly into the heart of a Blues side determined to prove their unlikely Champions League triumph last term was no fluke
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