CHELSEA have agreed to send club-record signing Romelu Lukaku back to Inter Milan on a one-year loan costing just £7million.
Belgian striker Lukaku, who joined the Blues from Inter for a whopping £97.5million only ten months ago, will also take a hefty wage cut to seal the deal.
The two clubs came to an agreement on Tuesday night in a move that includes add-ons and will see Chelsea pay none of the forward’s wages next season.
The deal is a £7m initial fee with up to £3.5m in performance related add-ons, with Lukaku slashing his wages from €12m (£10.3m) to €8m (£6.87m) to push through the move.
There will be no option or obligation to buy at the end of the loan next summer, with Lukaku to undergo his medical next week.
Lukaku’s move to Stamford Bridge last summer will go down as one of the costliest in Premier League history.
The former Manchester United hitman, 29, had a stellar campaign at Inter the season before last as he won Serie A under Antonio Conte.
He never seemed completely sold on a move back to Chelsea, whom he initially joined as a teenager in 2011, yet eventually made the switch in August.
Lukaku had issues with injuries and Covid and struggled to fit into Thomas Tuchel’s system.
He did nothing to endear himself to the German coach with a bombshell interview in December where the striker revealed he was “not happy” at the club and wished to return to Inter “in the near future”.
Now the ex-Everton ace has his wish, presuming he passes his medical and is expected back in Milan in the next week to be officially unveiled.
While Lukaku’s loan marks one of the most disastrous transfers ever, the benefit of agreeing to let him go now is Chelsea can now press on with bringing in new players.
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is a top target, while Richarlison of Everton, and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele are also in Tuchel’s sights in attack.
But the Blues, now owned by Todd Boehly, are also in need of defensive reinforcements following the free-transfer exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, while captain Cesar Azpilicueta could also leave.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is a long-term target, while Lens right-back Jonathan Clauss is also admired.