Lukaku so close to Chelsea he was house hunting until ‘best opportunity’ came in

Romelu Lukaku has revealed he was so close to joining Chelsea in 2017 that he was looking for houses near the training ground – and even an apartment for his mum to stay in.

Thomas Tuchel's side have been linked with a move for Lukaku in the summer transfer window, with competition expected to be fierce for the club's top target, Erling Haaland.

Former Manchester United striker Lukaku has fired 25 goals in all competitions this season for Serie A leaders Inter Milan, and is also said to be on Manchester City's radar.

Now 27, he started his Premier League career with Chelsea before joining Everton in 2014 after a season-long loan at Goodison Park.

And he has admitted he was on the verge of a return to Stamford Bridge before United came in for him in 2017.

The centre-forward said he was contacted by Chelsea in 2016, just before Antonio Conte took over as manager.

That was just weeks before he scored both goals against them in a 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final win for Everton, and he subsequently decided to stay on Merseyside.

But the following season he was ready to pack his bags and head for West London.

"For months I was negotiating with Chelsea, years – two years straight," Lukaku told threesixtytv in 2019.

"I was at Everton and we beat them in the quarter-finals. We won 2-0 and I scored two goals.

"Two weeks before that Chelsea called me, and said 'You know, the coach that we're going to get next year, he wants you next season.

"We're not going to tell you who it is, but we're going to tell you when it happens.

"So we played the game, we win 2-0, then they tell me who's the coach.

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  • "For two years I talked with Chelsea. One time it didn't happen, because I didn't want to put up a fight with Everton, so I stayed.

    "Then the second year, I was like, I was going to Chelsea, I'm not going to lie. I was looking for an apartment, a house – an apartment for my Mum to stay in when she came, a house close to the practice facility so I don't have to drive too far."

    But Lukaku changed his mind when Jose Mourinho's United came in for him – because he felt wanted by the club.

    "And then Man U came," he said. "At Man U I felt the trust a bit more where everybody wanted me to be there.

    "My agent got me the best opportunity for me, with the people who wanted me the most, and that was Man U, because everybody [at the club] wanted me."

    READ MORE: Inside Roman Abramovich's £340m property portfolio – including £200m of homes in London

    READ MORE: How Chelsea could line up with Lukaku or Haaland as transfer plan emerges

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