Chelsea want Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez to be included in a deal that would see £97 million flop Romelu Lukaku going the other way, according to reports.
The Belgian's second stint at Stamford Bridge has been arguably as disastrous and nondescript as his first and with his relationship with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel in tatters, both player and club are desperate to cut ties.
Lukaku wants to move back to Inter but as the Serie A giants don't have the money to buy him outright, a loan move looks likeliest – but the Blues want £20 million up front and a player in return before they can shake hands.
A straight-swap for Martinez seems likeliest with Chelsea in need of a replacement striker, but it's understood they're also eyeing up defenders Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni – who are both being heavily linked with moves to the Premier League this summer.
The Blues need reinforcements at the back after losing both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, and while a move for Sevilla's Jules Kounde looks all but sealed, Tuchel will be keen to bring in at least one more central defender – with Matthijs de Ligt and Josko Gvardiol also linked.
New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has agreed to hand Tuchel complete control of the club's transfers and is reportedly ready to sanction Lukaku's departure and any swap-deal the German manager might arrange.
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Lukaku netted a disappointing eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances during a season filled to the brim with disruption and controversy.
The 29-year-old striker sent shockwaves around west London back in December after telling Sky Italia that he wasn't happy with the system the manager was using and that he wanted to return to Inter "in the near future".
Tuchel immediately dropped him and despite Lukaku issuing a public apology, he spent most of the rest of the campaign warming the bench.
There were hopes the summer break might allow both parties to reconcile and turn over a new leaf, but it sounds as if the bridges were burned a long time ago.
So, Lukaku will get his not-so-secret wish and Chelsea's five-year search for a reliable centre forward will rumble on. What an expensive waste of time that all was!
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