Romelu Lukaku says Inter Milan got him out of a “deep hole” at Manchester United and admits he was only ever going to leave the Serie A champions for Chelsea.
The Belgian striker made the move to Italy in 2019 after a tough final few months at Old Trafford where he fell out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He rediscovered his goalscoring form at San Siro as his 64 goals in 95 appearances propelled Inter to a first Serie A title in 11 years and earned him a £97.5m move back to Stamford Bridge – which he admits was a head-turner.
“I was only going to leave Inter Milan for Chelsea,” Lukaku told HLN. “Kids love Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United. And Chelsea for me, everyone knows what Chelsea means to me.
“If they ask me, why would I say no? I only realised that Chelsea was serious at the third offer. So it was €100m (£85m), then it was €105m (£90m), and then it went to €110m (£94m). Then I knew, this is truly serious.
“I was in a deep hole at Man United. I didn’t want to go behind Inter’s back.
“So after training I went to [Inter boss Simone] Inzaghi’s office. I didn’t want to ruin the atmosphere because I was no longer with my head in Milan. So I asked him: please find an agreement.”
Lukaku originally joined Chelsea in 2011 at just 18 years of age but after one season was shipped out on loan to West Brom and then Everton, where he secured a permanent move in 2014.
Having rejoined the club 10 years later, the 28-year-old has settled in quickly and scored on his second debut against Arsenal in August, and is adamant Thomas Tuchel’s style of play suits his game.
“The first two training sessions, that intensity was so high that the first two or three days I had a bit of a scare,” Lukaku said. “But two days before the match we had a training session where I scored two goals and I thought yes.
“The team is looking good, the coach is looking good, I love the system that we play because it’s the same system as here [with Belgium], only the emphasis is different. For me it’s fantastic because I play in a team that dominates.”