Striker Romelu Lukaku, who has expressed his greatest satisfaction with his time at Inter Milan, could be heading to Saudi Arabia.
“Lukaku has met with Al-Hilal chiefs in a bid to become a household name joining the Saudi giants,” the Daily Mail reported on 13 January.
Lukaku joined Chelsea from Inter Milan in a £97 million deal ahead of the 2021/22 season. However, he scored just eight goals in 26 league appearances and said during the season: “I’m not happy at Chelsea. I want to return to Inter Milan one day,” he said in a controversial interview.
After being pushed out of the first-team after just one season at Chelsea, Lukaku eventually joined Inter on loan ahead of the 2022/23 season.
With Inter Milan being the club where he was a world-class striker, many expected a resurgence from Lukaku despite his struggles at Chelsea. However, Lukaku only managed 10 goals and six assists in 25 games for Inter Milan this season, with a number of games missing due to injury.
In the final game of the season, and arguably the most important game of the year for Inter Milan, the UEFA Champions League final, Lukaku was heavily criticised for his lacklustre attacking performance, and the Nerazzurri were willing to give up on signing him outright. As a result, he was forced to either return to Chelsea or look for a new club ahead of the 2023/24 season. 메이저사이트
It was Saudi league side Al-Hilal who made an offer for Lukaku. The Saudis have been trying to lure European stars to their league in recent years, and they made a big offer for Lukaku, who was unable to find his next destination due to poor form and injury.
“Lukaku will be offered a two-year contract by Al-Hilal worth £43m,” the Daily Mail reported. If he accepts the offer, Lukaku will become one of the biggest stars to join the Saudis after Ronaldo.”
“Lukaku has reportedly already met with Al-Hilal officials to discuss the deal, and it is believed that he will leave the European scene for a more lucrative offer,” the source added, explaining that he could accept the big money offer and leave Europe for the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the outlet emphasised that the current stumbling block to Lukaku’s move to Saudi Arabia is the transfer fee. According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea will demand a transfer fee in the region of £43 million, with Al-Hilal reportedly reluctant to pay the asking price. However, he added that he is willing to negotiate for Lukaku’s signature.
If Lukaku follows suit, he will join a long list of European league stars heading to the Middle East this summer.
Karim Benzema has already confirmed his move to the Al Ittihad, while Neymar, Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez are also reportedly considering a move to Saudi Arabia.
It will be interesting to see if Lukaku, who has so far remained loyal to Inter Milan, succumbs to the Saudi lure and plays in the Middle East instead of Serie A.