It seems clear that Romelu Lukaku’s future is destined to be outside Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea, and now FC Barcelona have emerged as a possible destination.
According to transfer insider Gianluca Di Marzio, both PSG and FC Barcelona are interested in the Belgian striker if Chelsea is willing to let him go on loan this season.
Chelsea have got off to an uneven start in the Premier League this year with a 3-1 loss to West Ham following an opening day 1-1 draw against Liverpool. The West London club have now gone 8 home league matches without a victory, and they’ll be hoping to rectify that tonight against newly promoted side Luton Town.
FC Barcelona is still waiting to announce Joao Cancelo, and it was believed that Xavi’s preference is to bring in another midfielder, but could the La Liga champions be tempted by Lukaku considering his history and the early season struggles of star striker Robert Lewandowski?
Chelsea have been busy in the transfer window spending just over €400 million. €116 million of that was on Moises Caicedo from Brighton, but they’ve also spent considerable money on numerous forwards.
Nicolas Jackson joined from Villareal for €37 million and Christopher Nkunku joined for €60 million from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, meaning opportunities for Lukaku will be few and far between.
Lukaku left out in the cold at Chelsea
Lukaku is currently training with the youth side having made it very clear that he wants to leave Stamford Bridge this summer.
Chelsea was open to that idea considering they’ve allowed several players to leave the club this year including Kei Havertz (Arsenal), Mason Mount (Man United), Christian Pulisic (AC Milan) and Mateo Kovacic (Manchester City)
At one point it looked as though he was heading to Juventus burning bridges with Inter Milan along the way, but when that deal fell through he was left with no suitors.
Chelsea was keen for Lukaku to head to Saudi Arabia to help with FFP, but Lukaku refused the move wanting to stay in Europe instead.
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has spoken about the Lukaku situation at length and it doesn’t sound as though he’s motivated to find a solution for the former Manchester United man:
"‘If the player and the club’s wish is to find a solution, it’s not me, it’s them.‘In that case, the player and the club will meet and inform to me that things changed. I’m not going to move until the club or the player want to talk with me.‘I am frustrated about the situation but not with the club because it is not trying to find a solution.‘Maybe with a solution we can add another player or some solution with the team but I am not frustrated about that because I knew it would be difficult.’"
With one week left in the transfer window, Chelsea may be forced to accept that if they want Lukaku away from the side, they’ll need to accept a loan move.
PSG are interested, but it’s believed their main priority is signing Randal Kolo Muani from Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt.
What would Lukaku bring to FC Barcelona?
First, Barca would need to work out the financial situation, as right now we don’t have enough money to register Joao Cancelo, let alone Romelu Lukaku. But if they could fit him within the budget, they’d certainly be getting a striker who knows where the back of the net is.
Although he’s sometimes struggled in England with Manchester United and Chelsea, he bagged plenty of goals with Everton between 2014-2017 scoring 53 in 110 appearances. He then scored 47 goals in 72 appearances for Inter Milan 2019-2021 and 10 in 25 appearances for them last year while on loan.
He brings a big, powerful and experienced presence to a team that may lack that element at the top of the pitch. Having only just turned 30, he still has plenty left in the tank and it would give Xavi a different option to Robert Lewandowski up-front.
The problem is that Barca tends to only play one striker and Lukaku won’t be getting in ahead of Lewandowski anytime soon. Ferran Torres has also shown significant progress over the pre-season and came on to score against Cadiz as an out-and-out centre forward.
I’m not sure if this is just Lukaku’s agent putting Barca’s name out there, or if there is genuine interest. But it’s certainly a situation worth watching.