Chelsea may be able to fill the vacuum. Romelu Lukaku appears to be parting ways with one of the players he arrived at Stamford Bridge to ostensibly replace just ten months ago. After paying a club-record £97.5 million for Lukaku last summer, Inter Milan has initiated formal negotiations with Chelsea about re-signing him on loan.
According to reports, Inter met with new owner Todd Boehly on Monday, and Lukaku’s agents were also there. And both parties are anxious to reach an agreement on the loan charge and finish the loan transaction as fast as feasible.
Chelsea’s readiness to sell Lukaku after just one season shows Boehly and head coach Thomas Tuchel has a plan in place to replace him. Signing Ousmane Dembele as a free agent when his Barcelona contract ends on July 1 might be part of that strategy, but Tuchel may have a better answer for the 29-year-early old’s departure.
Timo Werner’s debut season at Chelsea saw him score the joint-most goals and provide the most assists (both 12) in 52 games. Under Frank Lampard and Tuchel, only Mason Mount (54) played more minutes as the Blues finished fourth and won their second Champions League championship.
Lukaku’s summer arrival, on the other hand, was the reason for Werner’s limited position last season, with only 24 starts across all competitions. With 11 goals and six assists, his uneven minutes contributed to a decline in goal involvement.
He showed against Italy in the Nations League on Tuesday that he’s more than capable of recovering a starting spot, scoring two poacher goals as Hans-Dieter Flick’s primary striker. He will be confident in his ability to lead the Chelsea line just as well if given the confidence throughout pre-season.
Werner has primarily played as the left-forward in Chelsea’s front three, particularly since Lukaku’s comeback under Tuchel. However, Dembele’s possible arrival would limit winger options and allow the 26-year-old to resume his position as the Blues’ striker.
Dembele would join a tough offensive squad at Chelsea, which includes Werner, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, and Hakim Ziyech, even if Lukaku leaves. And Werner has finished a difficult season on a high note, just in time to compete for a spot in the finals in a few weeks.