ROMELU LUKAKU was supposed to be the missing piece, the man who would see Chelsea leapfrog Manchester City and Liverpool to win the Premier League.

The Belgian, 29, had just helped Inter Milan end Juventus’ decade of dominance to win the Serie A title in emphatic manner.

The Blues were clearly missing a centre-forward – and they thought they’d found the perfect solution in their former youth team man, Lukaku.

Chelsea moved heaven and earth to land the ex-Manchester United striker.

Chelsea sold nine starts to fund a £97.5m move for Romelu Lukaku – with the flop striker on the brink of returning to Inter Milan on loan as the axed youngsters thrive Credit: Getty

In fact, the club’s transfer team sold NINE

 stars and rising talents to finance a deal for Lukaku.

Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi led the exodus.

But they were joined by Olivier Giroud, Victor Moses, Tino Livramento, Ike Ugbo, Lewis Bate and Dynel Simeu in quitting Stamford Bridge.

Abraham was among the top scorers in Serie A last season and helped Roma win the Europa Conference League.

Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori are among the players to be sold by Chelsea who are now thriving elsewhere Credit: Reuters

Tomori helped AC Milan win their first Serie A title in 11 years.

Guehi joined Crystal Palace and thrived – with all three now part of the England squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup – while Livramento has gone on to become one of the hottest young prospects in the Premier League.


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How Chelsea could use them all now, with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen quitting and Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso and Lukaku looking to move on.

In all, the Blues bagged £98m for their nine “fringe” players and spent £97.5m on Lukaku, who quickly repaid them by revealing his desire to head back to the San Siro just two months later.

This summer, Chelsea are desperately seeking squad reinforcements all over the pitch, including up front with Lukaku on the brink of returning to Inter Milan on an initial loan deal.

The Italian giants have seen a £5m loan bid rejected as the West Londoners demand closer to £20m up front.



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