Mauricio Pochettino is close to replacing Graham Potter as manager as Chelsea but he’ll be backing his predecessor’s decision over Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian star returned to the club in August 2021 after joining from Inter Milan for a £97.5m fee, but he underwhelmed under Thomas Tuchel.
After scoring just eight goals in the Premier League, and then falling out with the German coach, he was sent back to Inter on loan, having previously irked fans at Stamford Bridge by expressing how much he missed life at the San Siro.
But letting Lukaku leave appeared a farcical decision from the club after Tuchel was sacked, with Potter then coming in and casting aside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
It left the London club without a recognised striker for the bulk of the campaign, a notion all too evident in their recent Champions League elimination at the hands of Real Madrid.
Lukaku’s latest stint in Italy is unlikely to be extended, after managing just five league goals in a 19 starts amid an injury plagued season.
And his future will soon lie in the hands of Pochettino, with the former Tottenham and PSG manager close to being confirmed as the new Chelsea boss.
Prior to being dismissed this month, Potter was keen to embrace Lukaku returning to the first team squad this summer, with three years still left on his contract. And now the Daily Telegraph has claims Pochetinno shares the same belief in Belgium’s record goalscorer.
The Argentine coach is keen to give Lukaku a ‘lifeline’ as he prepares to try and rebuild matters after a chaotic campaign.
Lukaku has 121 Premier League goals to his name for West Brom, Everton, Man United, and Chelsea, and is the most expensive player of all time in terms of cumulative transfer fees.
Pochetinno is yet to be officially confirmed at Stamford Bridge, but a deal is nearing with the two sides now finalising personal terms. And sorting out Chelsea’s issues in attack with be one of his priorities with Havertz struggling in an unfamiliar lone striker role.
But it isn’t only Lukaku’s future that the nen coach will have to address. The club are currently in discussions with Mason Mount in a bid to fend off transfer interest, with Liverpool and United monitoring the situation with interest.