The 28-year-old Belgian forward joined Chelsea in a deal worth €115m in the summer transfer window and he has struggled to find his footing in West London, starting in only eight Premier League matches since his arrival in August. He has missed six matches due to injury, dealing with both a sprain and a short battle with COVID.
Lukaku noted that he was “not happy with the situation” in a recent interview with Sky Sports, although the ambiguity of his words leaves things open to interpretation. He also expressed his explicit desire to return to Inter one day, apologising for the nature of his departure and highlighting that he wants to return to the Nerazzurri one day whilst still in his prime.
His departure back in the summer caused panic amongst Inter fans, who were concerned about the team’s position following his sale, as well as the departures of Antonio Conte and Achraf Hakimi, but new coach Simone Inzaghi has proven that the Nerazzurri are still a top club without the Belgian striker.
Inter sit top of the Serie A table heading into the new year, sitting four points ahead of intercity rivals Milan, and they’ve only lost one match in the league so far this campaign, against Lazio back in October.
In the Belgian striker’s last season with the Milanese club, he scored 24 goals in 36 games, with 12 of those coming in the first half of the season. Under Thomas Tuchel this campaign, he has scored only five goals so far in the Premier League, coming against weaker opponents like Brighton and Aston Villa.
At times, Lukaku seemed bigger than Inter, being their focal point and undeniable star, but now with Chelsea he is only one cog in Tuchel’s well-oiled machine, despite his high profile move over four months ago.
It seems fair to say, then, that Lukaku needs Inter more than Inter needs Lukaku, at least for the time being. The ball is now in the Belgian striker’s court, with all eyes on the player following his controversial interview.