After completing a £97.5 million comeback to Stamford Bridge under Thomas Tuchel, the Belgian international had a difficult few years. The striker had a promising beginning, but illness and injuries limited his playing time at Chelsea until he appeared to have harmed relationships by considering a return to Inter Milan and criticizing his manager’s methods in an interview.
As the following season approached, a loan agreement was made possible so Lukaku could return to Inter because he wasn’t playing as much as before. The 30-year-old fluctuated in and out of the team during the year, but he was able to rediscover greater form toward the end of the run, which culminated in a Champions League final.
The Nerazzurri seem to have moved their attention elsewhere in the market, so returning to London added to his sense of insecurity about the future. The player turned down a transfer to the Saudi Pro League, and a deal with Juventus appears to be off because of some tension resulting from club rivalry.
It leaves the striker with very few options with less than a week of the summer market remaining, so a solution must be found quickly. In the midst of that scheduling conflict, sources indicated that Pochettino had spoken with Lukaku about the prospect of bringing him back into the first squad.
In response to inquiries from the media during his pre-game press conference on Friday before Luton Town, the head coach has refuted such claims. “No, nothing has changed,” he replied.
Raheem Sterling has been offered as an example this season when asked if he could have a greater impact on the first team. Pochettino responded, “Raheem, it is his credit, not our credit. Romelu’s condition was very obvious. The player and the club both wanted to find a solution. If something changes, we’ll let you know. It is up to the athletes and clubs to find a solution. Until the club or the athlete wants to speak with me, I won’t move. When I get there, I accept the circumstances.