It has been a difficult summer for Romelu Lukaku. Last season he made a successful return to Serie A on loan to Inter, but a permanent move, which looked likely at last season's end has not materialized, in part because of Lukaku's interest in Juventus. However, that move also fell apart, and now he is on the verge of making his second comeback to Italian soccer (you can catch all the Serie A action on Paramount+), at an unusual destination. AS Roma have in fact agreed a loan deal with Chelsea for the transfer of Lukaku, who, if it comes to pass, will join the Italian club on a one-year loan, same as happened last summer, when he signed for his second stint with Inter.
Lukaku joined Inter in the summer of 2019 from Manchester United for around €80 million as he was identified by former Inter coach Antonio Conte as the perfect striker for his side. After winning the 2020-21 Serie A title, Chelsea signed the Belgian striker for a record fee of €115 million, but after a few months, Lukaku, in a bombshell interview, announced to Sky Italy his desire to come back to Inter in the near future.
Romelu Lukaku to AS Roma, here we go! Agreement reached on loan deal valid until June 2024 — player will travel to Roma on Tuesday 🚨🟡🔴 #ASRoma— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 28, 2023
Salary coverage around €7.5m for 10 months. Loan fee higher than €5m.
Green light arrived also on player side.
Done deal. pic.twitter.com/GgdXbckbT2
In the summer of 2022, only one year after he left, Lukaku made his comeback to Italian soccer on loan for one season where, despite struggling, he struggled due to injuries and scored 14 goals in 37 games in all competitions. After going back to Chelsea, Inter started to talk with the English side about a permanent transfer. While negotiations were ongoing, Lukaku reportedly refused to agree to terms with Saudi clubs in the summer, as his desire was to re-join Inter, or at least this is what the Nerazzurri believed.
However, when Inter and Chelsea agreed to terms back in July for around €35 million, the agent of the player Sebastien Ledure didn't finalize the agreement between the Italian club and Lukaku while having initial talks with multiple clubs including AC Milan and Juventus. The behavior of Lukaku and his agent left Inter shocked and the Nerazzurri decided to pull out of the race to sign Lukaku, leaving Chelsea irritated by the situation created by Lukaku. Inter decided to sign Marko Arnautovic from Bologna and also signed Alexis Sanchez after Joaquin Correa left Inter to join Olympique Marseille.
Juventus also tried to sign Lukaku this summer but the Italian side couldn't agree on a swap deal involving Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic being included in the transfer. Chelsea always wanted to sell Lukaku on a permanent move this summer, but things changed drastically in the last days of August, creating room for clubs like AS Roma to enter into the negotiations.
'Big Rom' will join his former coach Jose Mourinho, who already worked with him at Chelsea and at Manchester United. Under the Portuguese manager, Lukaku scored 33 goals in 77 games played between the two English sides. For the Giallorossi this is an incredible opportunity to sign an experienced player that can give more options to Mourinho, who won't count on Tammy Abraham until at least December, due to his knee injury. Also, it's a great chance for Lukaku, as he doesn't have many options left after he refused to re-join Inter and also was not interested in signing for Saudi clubs as of now.
American businessman Dan Friedkin is the owner of AS Roma since the summer 2020 and since then started a process of renovation at the club. Dan and his son Ryan guided the negotiations alongside sport director Tiago Pinto and the American owner will personally drive the private jet that will bring Romelu Lukaku to Rome on Tuesday.
A source close to the club said to CBS Sports that "The owners of AS Roma are committed to ensuring that a deal with Lukaku is done. The club has improved year on year with the Friedkin family's investment and they see him as a core part of their vision for the club to achieve their best result yet, and finish Top 4 in Serie A." A source close to the family has said, "The Friedkin family are highly engaged and committed to building AS Roma to achieve the glory the club and the fans deserve. Dan and Ryan efforts and investment are clearly seen in deals such as this, bringing world tier players such as Lukaku to be a part of their vision."
With only a few days left before the end of the transfer summer window, this can be a perfect match between the two sides. After signing Paulo Dybala last year, this will be another great sign for the AS Roma fans, who are now dreaming of the chance to see Lukaku playing for their club, despite the fact this might be the last year of Mourinho as coach of the Italian team, as he's entering the final year of contract with the Giallorossi.