Chelsea told to bring Lukaku back and ‘give him a chance’ next season

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Chelsea should bring Romelu Lukaku back from Inter Milan and ‘give him a chance’ under new head coach Graham Potter next season, according to Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves.

Just under a year since returning for a club-record £97.5million, Lukaku was sent out on loan to Inter last summer after enduring a miserable first season back at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgian striker netted a mere eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances, fell out of favour under Thomas Tuchel and also sparked huge controversy by giving a bombshell interview to Sky Italia, in which he criticised his manager while flirting with a potential return to Inter.

With Tuchel still at the helm, Chelsea loaned their record signing back to the Italian club amid tension between the pair, and many felt it all but marked the end of his second stint in west London.

However, eight months later the Blues are now in different hands after Tuchel was sacked and replaced by Potter in September.

The latter is under serious pressure right now amid a dismal run of two wins in 14 matches, and just one goal scored in their last five, despite an astonishing £300million spending spree in the January transfer window.

That unprecedented spend-up did not include a new centre-forward, and Ferdinand is convinced bringing Lukaku, who has scored two goals in as many games for Inter, could be the answer for Chelsea.

After his winner for Inter in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Porto on Wednesday, the BT Sport pundit said about Lukaku’s Chelsea future: ‘I think new manager, give him a chance. You’ve got no one in there that you obviously trust at the moment, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang isn’t even in the European squad.

‘This guy [Lukaku], he just knows where to score. I feel like he’s not fit, he’s carrying a bit more weight than normal and what he would like or the club like… still comes in and scores two goals in the last two games.’

Hargreaves also believes Lukaku has unfinished business at Chelsea, insisting the club shouldn’t think twice about reintegrating a ‘proven’ goalscorer.

When asked if his Blues career is over, the former Man United midfielder said: ‘Nah no chance, especially when they spent how much? And they don’t have a centre-forward. So they’ve got a really good one, just get him fit.

‘He’s proven. His body of work shows he scores goals, so why would you not try and integrate him back in the summer?’

Lukaku’s loan return to Inter has been marred by injury this season, meaning he has been restricted to just 14 appearances so far.

It remains to be seen what the future will hold for the 29-year-old if he enjoys a strong end to the campaign, but he has not been in touch with anyone from Stamford Bridge of late.

‘I haven’t spoken to nobody,’ Lukaku said when asked if he’s made contact with Potter. ‘I just focus myself on the present, I don’t want to look at the future right now. That doesn’t make sense.

‘Football is the present, that’s the most important thing. So I just want to perform and prepare myself for the next game at the weekend.’

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