EPL

Lukaku: With Chelsea's third offer, I knew it was serious

By Sports Desk September 04, 2021

Chelsea lodged three bids before Romelu Lukaku realised their interest in him was serious, but he did not want to disrespect Inter after they rescued him from Manchester United.

Lukaku returned to Chelsea for a reported £97.5million (€115m) last month, departing Inter after two seasons in Serie A, having led the Nerazzurri to the title last season.

The former United forward excelled in Italy after a difficult two-year spell at Old Trafford, regaining the form that saw the Red Devils pay a reported £75m to sign him from Everton.

Lukaku scored on his second Chelsea debut, helping Thomas Tuchel's team to a 2-0 win at Arsenal.

Reflecting on his move while on international duty with Belgium, Lukaku revealed he was swayed by how much the Champions League holders pushed to sign him.

However, he was grateful to Inter, and adamant he would not take an unfair route in order to secure a move back to west London.

"I didn't want to go behind Inter's back," Lukaku said. "They got me out of the s***. I was in a deep hole at United."

Speaking to VTM Nieuws, Lukaku said: "With Chelsea's third offer, I knew it was serious.

"I only realised that Chelsea were serious when they made their third offer. First, they offered €100m. Then €105m, €105m plus [Marcos] Alonso. Then they offered €110m plus [Davide] Zappacosta, but Inter said no.

"After training I went to [coach Simone] Inzaghi's office. I didn't want to ruin the atmosphere because I was no longer in Milan in my head. So I asked him: please find an agreement."

Lukaku netted twice in Belgium's 5-2 win over Estonia on Thursday. On Sunday, he will make his 100th appearance for the national team should he feature against the Czech Republic.

"He is a legend of Belgian football, his statistics are fantastic," Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said of Lukaku, who is the country's record scorer with 66 goals.

"When I talk about Romelu, it's always a bit subjective. I've been lucky enough to see Romelu grow as a player and he's developed superbly.

"Tomorrow he will play his 100th international match and I think that should be a big party. Sometimes we take for granted what we have. But players like Romelu are rare, they should be enjoyed."

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    Inter were labelled as favourites to win the Serie A title by Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, and Simone Inzaghi took the compliment in his stride.

    The Nerazzurri host Juventus in the Derby d'Italia on Sunday, with three points separating the sides in the standings.

    Inter are behind Milan and a Napoli side who have made a flying start to the campaign, winning all eight matches.

    However, Allegri insisted in his pre-match news conference on Saturday that Inter were still the favourites, despite having lost coach Antonio Conte, star striker Romelu Lukaku and full-back Achraf Hakimi over the close season.

    Inzaghi responded by accepting Allegri's flattery, though the Inter boss does not agree with his Juventus counterpart.

    "The championship is at the beginning," Inzaghi told a news conference. "It's a very important match between two very competitive teams.

    "If [Allegri] says so, a coach I respect so much, it's nice. I could say the same about them, Napoli, Milan and more.

    "We want to be favourites and we will try to do our best."

    Juve come into Sunday's fixture on the back of a four-match winning run in Serie A, while Inter lost 3-1 at Lazio last time out in the league.

    The Turin giants are also expected to be able to welcome back forward Paulo Dybala, who has been out for almost a month due to injury.

    "Of course, Juventus are our historical rivals," Inzaghi said. "We will have to do well to make the match ours. They have recovered all their players, they have excellent results and we must give them great attention.

    "We have always held our ground and lost only two games despite playing well, even deserving a different result.

    "The progress is good, we have slowed down for a moment, but we are aware and play excellent football."

  • Tuchel tells Chelsea to prove Norwich thrashing was not a one-off Tuchel tells Chelsea to prove Norwich thrashing was not a one-off

    Thomas Tuchel wants Chelsea's players to continue proving their quality after watching them run riot against Norwich City.

    Shorn of the injured Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, Chelsea made light work of lowly Norwich at Stamford Bridge, with Mason Mount scoring a hat-trick in a 7-0 win.

    It was the fourth time Chelsea have won a Premier League game by seven or more goals and the first time since December 2012 against Aston Villa (8-0), with only Manchester United netting seven or more goals in more Premier League games.

    Mount opened and rounded off the scoring, with strikes from Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and an own goal from Max Aarons wedged in between.

    Chelsea's win lifted them four points clear at the top for at least a few hours, and though pleased with the display, Tuchel wants the same level of performance when the Blues take on Southampton in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

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    Mount had not scored since netting in a 2-0 Champions League win over Real Madrid in May, but he was the star of the show against the hapless Canaries, who also had Ben Gibson sent off.

    He had more shots (five) and efforts on target (four) than any other player, while his tally of three key passes trailed only Mateo Kovacic (six).

    Tuchel said: "It's good, because no matter what the coach says and how many good opportunities you have, how satisfied the coach is, the offensive guys need goals to feel fully happy, full confidence.

    "He waited long, too long, and it was good that he got some goals today."

    Tuchel had concerns about fatigue with Mount, and he added: "I don't think it was a matter of now he is fresh and yesterday he was tired. For now it's a process, we are still in between international breaks, I think it's normal. It's a status that will not change from one game to the other.

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    Mount added: "Before the game I was putting pressure on myself to get on the scoresheet because it's been quite a long time since I did, and then three come around in the same game.

    "I don't think I've ever scored more than one in a game for Chelsea, so it's obviously a massive moment for me to get three, I'll remember this for a long time.

    "You put pressure on yourself. I was always getting in the positions to score, but I just wasn't putting it in the back of the net, and I just thought there'd be a game where it was going to come off and today was the day.

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    Chelsea did not miss Romelu Lukaku or Timo Werner as the Premier League leaders made light work of 10-man Norwich City in a 7-0 rout, with Mason Mount scoring a hat-trick.

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    After making an error that allowed Milot Rashica to test Edouard Mendy, Chilwell quickly atoned at the other end, drilling in a low finish to continue his brilliant scoring form.

    Aarons' deflection on Hudson-Odoi's cross-shot did for Krul, who spilled over his own line, before Gibson – only 10 minutes after he had first been cautioned – dived in late on James.

    Mathias Normann's handball handed Chelsea a spot-kick and, though Krul initially saved Mount's effort, the goalkeeper had come off his line, and Norwich's goalkeeper was unable to keep out the second attempt.

    There was time for one more, Ruben Loftus-Cheek beating the offside trap and cutting back for Mount to slot in his third.

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