Lukaku set to seal Inter return as Chelsea track Sterling


Romelu Lukaku will seal his return to Inter Milan this week and kickstart Chelsea’s recruitment drive.

Inter and Chelsea are close to an agreement on the terms of Lukaku’s loan fee after the Italians increased their opening offer of £6million to £8.5m with add-ons. A further video call is set for Monday.

Chelsea have discussed potential discounts on Inter players as part of negotiations with Milan Skriniar and Denzel Dumfries among the names floated but it is expected to be a straight loan deal as it stands.

New co-owner Todd Boehly was convinced Lukaku’s departure was best for all parties once the Belgian made it clear how determined he was to leave.

Lukaku’s exit sharpens Thomas Tuchel’s need to find another goal threat and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is at the forefront of plans. Chelsea have not made contact with City but, with one year left on his deal, they believe Sterling, 27, would be valued at around £55m.

City have been prepared for Sterling’s departure and will not stand in his way but Sportsmail understands he is still considering his options.

Chelsea are also keen on Robert Lewandowski but his desire to join Barcelona makes a deal unlikely. Red Bull Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele are options as well.

Tuchel also needs at least three new defenders with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde still a priority despite his recent injury.

Manchester City’s former Chelsea defender Nathan Ake, 27, is another mentioned but he is expected to stay. Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol and Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe are others under discussion.

Chelsea will need full backs too with Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta wanted by Barca. Manchester City target Marc Cucurella of Brighton, Rayan Ait-Nouri of Wolves and Barca’s Sergino Dest are all targets.