What next for Romelu Lukaku? Four ways the Chelsea conflict could end

Romelu Lukaku bares Chelsea woes

Shock news emerged from Chelsea and Stamford Bridge to end a very mixed 2021 when Romelu Lukaku’s interview with Sky Italy was aired.

Champions League winners this year, the Blues are on a high trophy-wise, but currently have 4 key defenders out of contract in the summer, and now have another 97.5 million pound problem.

The Belgian marksman was asked on his Chelsea time to date, and said:

“Physically I am fine. But I’m NOT happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system – I won’t give up, I’ll be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am professional – and I can’t give up now”

Romelu Lukaku to @SkySport: “Physically I am fine. But I’m NOT happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system – I won’t give up, I’ll be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am professional – and I can’t give up now”. 🔵 #CFC

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 30, 2021

And now, the fallout has begun, with Lukaku dropped entirely from the matchday squad against Liverpool in a must-win affair for both sides.

🚨 Romelu Lukaku is not in Chelsea squad for visit of Liverpool. 28yo striker at centre of controversy in recent days after release of unauthorised interview in Italy. #CFC will now be without £97.5m summer signing for huge #LFC game @TheAthleticUK #CHELIV

— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 2, 2022

But where could it go from here? 101 take a look at four ways that the conflict could resolve itself.

The happy reunion with Chelsea

In an ideal world, this will all blow over, and Lukaku will be walking out in Chelsea blue again in their Carabao Cup tie against Tottenham on Wednesday night.

This seems unlikely, though, with manager Thomas Tuchel still thought to be “livid” with the unauthorised and disrespectful interview.

huge call from Tuchel, but I think it’s the right one. The more quotes emerged, the more disrespectful it was from Lukaku. Only one person has won the Champions League out of Tuchel and Lukaku. Bit much to question the manager’s system after you’ve produced so little #cfc

— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) January 2, 2022

Chelsea fans, meanwhile, will not be as forgiving should their manager bring him back into the fold, with a quick search of social media showing a for once united Chelsea fanbase. Unfortunately for Lukaku, it is very much united against him.

At the same time as all the posturing, however, Lukaku is the best striker at the club at present, and Chelsea shelled out a lot of money for him just 4 months ago. Can they afford the worst-case scenario?

Frozen out- the worst-case scenario

The unthinkable worst-case scenario. Chelsea’s mega-money signing, one of the only additions on the back of a Champions League win, frozen out of the side.

And yet, it could very much be on the cards.

Few clubs would be willing to take the Belgian off the hands of the Blues, and should his relationship with Tuchel and co. prove damaged beyond repair, which seems more and more likely with each new comment from the interview coming to light, it could prove a long wait until the summer transfer window.

Certainly, it is hard to see him moving to any of the clubs he describes as “top level” (Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich), with one set on Kylian Mbappe, one with little financial power and the third with Robert Lewandowski already at the club.

That he didn’t name Chelsea is perhaps as big a blow to his relationship with the fans as anything else.

Lukaku to Sky: “There are 3 teams at top level: Barcelona, Real, Bayern. All the players dream of them, that’s the truth. I thought I was going to one of those clubs after Inter”.

“This didn’t happened and I said: there is only one club where I can imagine myself, it’s Chelsea”.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 31, 2021


The fairytale return to Inter Milan

A return to Inter Milan would be a fairytale return for Lukaku.

Unfortunately, it seems almost impossible.

Lukaku to Sky Sport: “I miss Lautaro Martinez, I could die on the pitch for him since day one I met him”. 🔵 #Inter #CFC

“Lautaro Martinez coming here with me at Chelsea in the future? No… Lautaro, you can stay in Milan, I’ll be back there (laughs)”.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 31, 2021

His attempts to mend the relationship with the fans in this interview has been seen in Italy as a desperate attempt to build bridges, and has in fact burned more than he repaired.

Outside the very ground that he was roared on by the Milanese faithful, a banner appeared reading:

“It doesn’t matter who runs away in the rain. It counts who stays in the storm! Bye, Romelu.”

Inter Milan fans put up a banner outside San Siro bearing the words:
“It doesn’t matter who runs away in the rain. It counts who stays in the storm! Bye, Romelu.”

It looks like they don’t fancy a Romelu return.#TheGamePlan

— Carol Radull (@CarolRadull) January 1, 2022

Given that Lukaku was sold to ease financial woes at the San Siro in the first place, it seems very unlikely that the hierarchy would be willing to sanction a big-money return from a financial point of view, let alone a sentimental one.

This, combined with Chelsea’s likely demands to recoup much of the fee they splashed on the Belgian, renders this almost a non-starter.

A shock reunion with Antonio Conte?

He couldn’t, could he?

If there was one man that Lukaku enjoyed playing for, it was Antonio Conte, who helped him discover his best form as he fired Inter Milan to the Serie A title.

Fast-forward six months, and Conte is attempting to rebuild Tottenham, while Lukaku is unhappy at Chelsea. For both parties, the situation is far from ideal.

Antonio Conte is the first manager in Tottenham’s history to go unbeaten in his first eight league matches 👌

— GOAL (@goal) January 1, 2022

With current Tottenham striker Harry Kane having thrown his toys out of the pram in the summer in an attempt to force through a move to Manchester City, Conte could cut ties with his star striker and look to engineer a move for Lukaku.

However, this would involve a lot of market investment, and with Manchester City having cooled their interest in Kane, it may be hard to find a buyer for the England captain, especially at the price demanded by Levy.

Then, to add to the problem, Tottenham and Chelsea would probably struggle to do business with each other, with Abramovich having previously refused to do any business with his London rivals.

Again, another probable non-starter.

Something has to give

Eventually, whether it be this week, next month, or the end of the season, something will have to give.

The buying landscape is bleak for Chelsea, even if they did want to offload the Belgian, which appears unlikely.

While Tuchel may work hard to bring his star man back into the fold, however, he has already burned his bridges with the majority of the fanbase.

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Written by mettablog

McConnell vows to stand for absolutely nothing ahead of 2022 midterms, just like the RNC in 2020