Chelsea learn from Romelu Lukaku error with Inter Milan star linked with transfer

Mauricio Pochettino was left a Chelsea gift by Thomas Tuchel and a £150m headache

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly may admit to making some mistakes in the transfer market but the American billionaire is determined not to let the club repeat the errors made with Romelu Lukaku again. The striker arrived at Stamford Bridge 10 months before Boehly took control from Roman Abramovich but it seems the American billionaire has been put off spending such exorbitant amounts on another striker again, despite splashing out £1billion on transfers since his takeover.

Speculation persisted earlier this summer that Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez was a target for the west London club as they searched for a big-name striker to add to Mauricio Pochettino’s squad. However, the deal did not materialise and the £70million-rated striker remained at the San Siro.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, via his YouTube channel, has since debunked claims they had made a move, adding that Martinez was ‘never discussed’ as a target for Chelsea.

And it seems Lukaku had some influence on their transfer plans, as they were unwilling to ‘do a similar kind of deal’ that saw them acquire the Belgian two years ago.

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Lautaro Martinez: Chelsea were linked with the 28-goal striker. (Image: Getty)

Lukaku was brought back to Stamford Bridge in a £97.5million deal in August 2021 at the request of Thomas Tuchel just three months after winning the Champions League for a second time. The German was convinced Lukaku was the missing piece in the puzzle – a natural goalscorer – after defensive midfielder Jorginho ended the season as their top scorer.

But just eight goals in 26 appearances followed and Lukaku criticised his manager in an interview with Italian media, causing Tuchel to leave him out of the team. Within 10 months, he had gone from potential saviour to unwanted flop and Boehly was left to clean up the mess from his predecessor Marina Granovskaia.

One of his first acts as interim sporting director was to negotiate a loan agreement with Inter that saw them pay a £7m fee and get the majority of his £290,000-a-week wages off the books. A year later, Chelsea insisted on a permanent deal, but both Inter and Juventus refused to budge from a loan, causing Lukaku to become frustrated and end talks with both clubs.

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Romelu Lukaku: The Belgian striker is now on loan at Roma. (Image: Getty)


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Despite receiving significant offers from mega-rich Saudi Arabian clubs, Lukaku wasn’t keen to follow the long line of players heading to the Arabian Gulf. Instead, he opted for a surprise reunion with Jose Mourinho at Roma, with Boehly again securing a decent financial deal whereby Lukaku will reduce his wages for the final two years of his contract.

Whether deciding not to move for Martinez was wise or not is another matter, given that the Argentina international is a completely different profile of striker to Lukaku and he may well have been a success after bagging 28 goals last season.

But Boehly has been burned one too many times from expensive transfers – Wesley Fofana and Mykhaylo Mudryk have struggled to impress – and few could blame him for deciding to sign a much cheaper Nicolas Jackson for £32m instead.