Romelu Lukaku has claimed he turned down a lucrative offer from Manchester City 12 months before his £98million return to Chelsea.
The Belgian striker, who caused a storm in the same interview by saying he is not happy with his situation at Stamford Bridge, suggested he could have returned to the Premier League earlier with Chelsea’s title rivals.
The offer from City came in the summer of 2020, after his first season with Inter Milan, but Lukaku wanted to stay and repay the Italian club’s faith in him after a difficult time at Manchester United.
Romelu Lukaku has revealed that he turned down an offer from Manchester City in 2020 after his first season with Inter Milan and 12 months before he returned to Chelsea
Pep Guardiola apparently wanted to sign the Belgian striker and City made a lucrative offer
Lukaku said City offered him a larger salary than his current £212,000-a-week deal at Chelsea.
He told Sky Italia (via FC Inter News): ‘After the first year, I turned down an offer from Manchester City that was higher than Chelsea’s current one, because I didn’t want to.
‘It was not the time, it was the first year and I wanted to do something good for Inter because they saved my career.
‘I was in a tunnel at Manchester United. I was a big investment for Inter and we did great things together.’
Having scored 34 goals in all competitions during his first campaign at the San Siro, Lukaku scored a further 30 in 2020-21 to help them win the Serie A title.
Chelsea’s £98million summer signing said he is ‘not happy with the situation’ at Chelsea
Shortly afterwards, Chelsea broke their transfer record to bring him back to the club he left in 2014.
The 28-year-old has scored seven times in 18 appearances since returning but has left Chelsea stunned by admitting to unhappiness at his role there.
He said: ‘Physically I am fine. But I’m not happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system.
‘I won’t give up, I’ll be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am professional – and I can’t give up now.’
Lukaku also opened the door to returning to Inter Milan – the club he departed in the summer for Stamford Bridge – in the not too distant future, in the same interview which took place around three weeks ago.
Inter allowed the sale of the centre forward to help their financial concerns while the the 28-year-old was in favour of a return to west London.
Lukaku also opened the door to returning to Inter Milan – the club he left last summer
But the Belgium international striker seems to have paved the way for a return to Milan one day, saying: ‘I think everything that happened last summer was not supposed to happen like this… how I left Inter, the way I left the club, how I communicated with Inter fans – this bothers me because it was not the right time.
‘Now it’s the right time to share my feelings. I have always said that I have Inter in my heart: I know I will return to Inter, I really hope so. I am in love with Italy, this is right moment to talk and let people know what really happened.
‘I really hope from bottom of my heart to return to Inter not at the end of my career, but when I’m still at top level to win more together.
‘I want apologise to the Inter fans, the timing of my words was wrong: what you did for me will remain forever.’
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has expressed his frustration at Lukaku’s comments.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is less than impressed by Romelu Lukaku’s bombshell interview
The Blues boss faced the media on Friday morning ahead of his side’s game against Liverpool and was quizzed on Lukaku’s surprising revelations.
‘We don’t like it of course. It brings noise that we don’t need and it’s not helpful,’ Tuchel said.
‘We don’t want to make more out of it than it actually is. It is easy to take lines out of context, shorten lines, make headlines and then realise later that it is not so bad and maybe not what he meant.
‘We don’t like it, I don’t like it because it’s noise that we don’t need. We need a calm environment and focus and this does not help.’
Tuchel admitted he was ‘surprised’ at Lukaku’s unhappiness and revealed that the club plan to talk to the former Inter Milan striker soon.
Tuchel was quizzed on Lukaku’s comments in his pre-match press conference on Friday
‘I don’t feel him unhappy. I feel the exact opposite if you asked me yesterday morning and that’s why it’s a surprise but that’s why I’m the wrong person to ask,’ Tuchel added.
‘If there is something then it is behind closed doors, for sure.
‘Like I said, this is what you read into it. It is very easy, in general, to take lines out of context and make headlines to get the focus.
‘I totally understand the process and that is why it is a lot of noise, not a little noise. But still, we are not here to read the headlines.
‘We can take the time to try and understand what is going on because it does not reflect the daily work, attitude and behaviour which Romelu shows here at Cobham.
‘We will [sit down with him] behind closed doors and openly.’