Romelu Lukaku will stay at Chelsea following clear-the-air talks with Thomas Tuchel and the striker accepts his controversial interview with Sky in Italy was a mistake.
In an interview with Sky in Italy that was recorded a few weeks ago but first aired last Thursday, Lukaku said he was unhappy with his role at the club and would like to return to Inter Milan in the near future.
But Lukaku now believes he should not have made the comments that led to him being omitted from Chelsea’s squad for the 2-2 home draw against Liverpool on Sunday.
Following conversations with Tuchel, there is now a commitment from all parties for Lukaku to move on from the interview and help Chelsea reignite their Premier League title bid.
But a transfer away from Chelsea has never been discussed and he will not be leaving the club this month or next summer.
After revealing he only decided to swap Inter Milan for Chelsea when his request for a new contract in Italy was rejected, Lukaku now insists he wanted to join the Blues this summer and that he was not forced to rejoin the club.
Meanwhile, there is no truth in reports from Italy on Monday suggesting Lukaku is interested in linking back up with former Inter boss Antonio Conte at Tottenham.
What did Lukaku say in controversial interview?
In a 29-minute interview with Sky in Italy recorded earlier in December, Lukaku said he said he was “not happy” with his situation at Chelsea, questioned Tuchel’s system and revealed he turned down a move to Manchester City in 2020.
“Physically I’m doing great. I’m just not very happy with the situation, but that’s normal,” Lukaku said. “I think the boss has decided to play a different formation but I have to stick at it and get on with it professionally.
“I’m not happy with the situation but it’s my job and I mustn’t give up.
“When I was at Inter, at the end of the first year, I turned down an offer from Manchester City which was higher than Chelsea’s this summer.
“So the second year after we won the Scudetto, I went to speak with club chiefs and asked for a new contract. I did it because I told myself I’m 28 years old, my family feels great in Milan, I still have my flat there, my mother and my son could come and live there and we would all feel comfortable.
“But they didn’t want to extend my contract, the possibility wasn’t there. It was tough for me to accept, because in my head I told myself that I would be able to do a few more years in Milan.”
“In my opinion, there are three absolute top teams in football – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Every player dreams of playing for one of these teams one day. So I thought if I ever had that possibility, I would sign a new contract with Inter and then go there.
“But it didn’t happen, so I told myself that there is only one team where I could possibly see myself – Chelsea. I wasn’t thinking about going there, but at one point they came in for me and so I asked [Inter boss Simone] Inzaghi to leave.
“The fact that they didn’t try to make me sign a new contract bothered me a bit, it hurt me even. If Inter offered me a new contract, I would have stayed 100 per cent. That goes without saying.”
Souness: Lukaku more than crossed the line | Nev: Love story over
Graeme Souness says Lukaku must apologise to his teammates after the comments he made in his Sky in Italy interview led to Tuchel dropping the striker against Liverpool.
However, fellow pundit Gary Neville says an apology isn’t necessary if Lukaku has told the truth – but he must work hard to win back the trust of his manager and fans in what is now “rather than a love story, a transactional relationship.”
Lukaku said he hoped to go back to Inter soon because he was unhappy with how Tuchel was utilising him.
Sky Sports pundit Souness described Lukaku’s decision to say those things as “ridiculous and damaging” and backed Tuchel for leaving out the £97.5m forward, despite the enormity of the game.
In the end, Chelsea drew 2-2 with Liverpool – a result which only really benefits Premier League leaders Manchester City.
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