HomeEPL - TeamsChelseaRomelu Lukaku: Euro 2024 Performance Could Shape His Future

Romelu Lukaku: Euro 2024 Performance Could Shape His Future

Lukaku’s Possible Destinations Ahead of Euro 2024

For the second time in just over 18 months, Chelsea are banking on Romelu Lukaku’s performances with Belgium to facilitate an exit that all parties desire. Lukaku’s previous attempt at the 2022 World Cup was disappointing, with Belgium exiting in the group stage and Lukaku missing several clear chances in their decisive match against Croatia. This time, expectations are more measured, but Lukaku remains crucial to Belgium’s Euro 2024 hopes, having scored 14 goals in 10 qualifying matches.

Belgium’s Euro 2024 Prospects

Belgium’s current squad is a shadow of their golden generation, but Lukaku’s contributions will be pivotal. Shining in Germany could potentially help end his tumultuous second spell at Chelsea. However, Clearlake Capital and Todd Boehly are firm in their stance against another loan deal for the 2024-25 season. They aim to secure the £38 million release clause set during his move to Roma last season. The pressing question is, who will pay this sum?

Serie A Options for Lukaku

Extending his stay in Serie A seems unlikely under these terms. Roma stretched their finances just to afford the £11.4 million it cost to loan Lukaku last season, partially to appease Jose Mourinho, who has since been sacked. Inter Milan, still sore from being ghosted by Lukaku in 2023, and Juventus, with Dusan Vlahovic already in their ranks, are not viable options. AC Milan, needing a striker, has always balked at the financial demands of any Lukaku deal. This leaves Napoli, who, expecting to sell Victor Osimhen, might offer a reunion with Antonio Conte.

Picture:IMAGO

Challenges with Napoli

A move to Napoli is fraught with challenges. Osimhen remains the only player Napoli have signed for a fee exceeding what Chelsea demands for Lukaku. President Aurelio De Laurentiis is known for his financial prudence, especially regarding players over 30. Additionally, Lukaku’s substantial salary is a stumbling block for a club that has drastically reduced its wage bill, partly motivating Kalidou Koulibaly’s move to Chelsea in 2022.

Lukaku, now 31, is three years removed from his peak under Conte at Inter, making him less appealing to European clubs with the financial capacity to meet Chelsea’s valuation. Fenerbahce, despite their current connection with Mourinho, seems an unlikely destination, as Mourinho himself dismissed the idea: “I want to make it 100 per cent my word, I have zero interest in any player of AS Roma.”

Saudi Arabian Interest

It is unsurprising that Lukaku recently expressed openness to a move to Saudi Arabia, telling Belgian broadcaster VTM, “Saudi Arabia wouldn’t stop me… The level will only increase, to a much higher level than many people think.” This change of heart might concern Chelsea, given the reduced options for a satisfactory deal compared to last year. Saudi clubs have also become more restrained in their spending, focusing primarily on their four major clubs owned by the Public Investment Fund and a couple of other ambitious teams.

Lukaku’s hesitation last summer led Al Hilal to sign Aleksandar Mitrovic instead, while other top Saudi clubs have already filled their striker positions. With the Saudi Pro League’s foreign player limits, there is little incentive for these clubs to invest heavily in another striker. However, Lukaku’s relationship with Michael Emenalo, now director of football for the Saudi Pro League, could be a deciding factor.

Lukaku can significantly boost his market appeal by leading Belgium through a favourable Euro 2024 group stage against Slovakia, Romania, and Ukraine. Both he and Chelsea have every reason to hope for a successful tournament to avoid prolonging an already strained relationship, with two more years remaining on his contract.

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