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Chelsea boss Graham Potter dealt early transfer blow as Romelu Lukaku option mooted



Any hopes Graham Potter may have had of bringing Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge have been dealt a blow, with the Belgian all but ruling out a return.

Lukaku rejoined Chelsea in a club-record £97.5m transfer in 2021, having helped Inter Milan win the Serie A title. However, after scoring just eight league goals under Thomas Tuchel last term, he clinched a loan return to the San Siro.

Tuchel’s sacking and Potter’s appointment had seen some speculate that the former Manchester United frontman might eventually return to west London. This now looks unlikely, though, with reports on the continent suggesting a longer stay in Milan could be on the cards.

Lukaku scored on his second debut for Inter, netting in a 2-1 victory at Lecce in Serie A. He has been restricted to just three games so far this season due to injury, but appears to be happy back in Italy.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Lukaku has no desire to return to his parent club. An extension to his loan has been mooted as a possibility, potentially keeping him with the Nerazzurri until the end of the 2023-24 season.

With Lukaku no longer part of Tuchel’s plans, Chelsea strengthened their front-line with the signings of Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang over the summer, as well as adding bodies in a number of other positions. And, while neither player was chosen by former Brighton & Hove Albion manager Potter, the new boss may be required to work with what he has rather than recalling the record signing.