EPL

'He wants to be important' – Belgium boss Martinez suggests Lukaku must be valued at Chelsea

By Sports Desk June 11, 2022

Romelu Lukaku wants to be made to feel important to enjoy his football amid uncertainty around his Chelsea future, according to Belgium manager Roberto Martinez.

Lukaku completed a club-record £97.5million return to Stamford Bridge after winning Serie A with Inter last season, scoring 24 times in Serie A under Antonio Conte's tutelage in that successful campaign.

But the Belgium international has struggled on his Chelsea homecoming, managing 15 goals in all competitions for Thomas Tuchel's side in a season blighted by injury and controversy.

In an interview with Italian television Lukaku spoke of his desire to one day again represent Inter, while speaking about his disappointment with his role within Tuchel's team.

Lukaku subsequently apologised for his comments and assured of his commitment to Chelsea, although doubts still remain over his future.

Reports suggest Tuchel wants to bring Inter's Lautaro Martinez to partner Lukaku to recreate the pairing that fired the Nerazzurri to Scudetto success under Conte.

Alternatively, Chelsea are reportedly also considering a swap deal to send Lukaku back to Inter in exchange for Martinez and Alessandro Bastoni.

Martinez, who worked with Lukaku at Everton and now in international football, believes the 29-year-old simply needs to feel valued to thrive wherever he plays.

"He wants to be important and enjoy his football," Martinez told reporters. "I'm sure the decision in the summer will be the right one.

"In Belgium we are quite relaxed with Romelu's situation. I know it is a big topic, but at the moment he is trying to recover from the injury and that's the only thing he has in his mind.

"If he stays at Chelsea it will be for the right reasons. If he's moving away it will be because everyone agrees to it.

"Romelu is a player I know very well. I managed him at club level at a very young age.

"He was 19 and had a very different position than he has now. Now he's a player who is very mature and very clear what he wants."

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