Chelsea forced to consider dropping £35m Romelu Lukaku asking price due to lack of interest

Romelu Lukaku could end up stranded at Chelsea this summer, as his options for a move grow increasingly slim.

The 30-year-old remains exiled in Chelsea’s Under-21s squad alongside Callum Hudson-Odoi and Malang Sarr and has not spoken to head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Pochettino was initially open to working with Lukaku, but the Belgian has little interest in rebuilding his career in west London.

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Chelsea will accept only a permanent transfer, with all loan interest having been refused outright.

Lukaku was signed by the previous owners from Inter Milan for £100million in 2021 and remains the club’s highest earner at £325,000 a week.

Juventus are willing to pay £35m, which Chelsea would accept, but their bid is conditional on banking £50m for striker Dusan Vlahovic.

Chelsea have refused the chance to take Vlahovic in part exchange to facilitate the move due to his high wages and injury problems. It has left them reliant on a European club making a late move for Vlahovic to free up funds for Lukaku.

The Blues have also seen Al-Hilal withdraw from the race after signing Aleksandar Mitrovic for £46m this weekend. It raises concerns that a potential Saudi route is now off the table.

Inter’s advanced talks with Lukaku collapsed in July after learning of Juventus’s simultaneous negotiations. They felt betrayed by the striker, who spent last season on loan at Inter and supposedly gave his word he would try to join on a permanent deal this summer. Tottenham, meanwhile, have been linked with signing Lukaku but have denied any interest.

Chelsea are not keen on Vlahovic due to his wages and injury problems (Getty Images)
Chelsea are not keen on Vlahovic due to his wages and injury problems (Getty Images)

Chelsea may soon face the prospect of reducing their £35m asking price, or be forced to accept loan offers to get rid of Lukaku. They also face the issue of running out of loan spots, with new rules limiting clubs to five overseas senior loans — and they have just two remaining.

Chelsea plan to fill one of those spots after signing Deivid Washington from Santos for £17m. The 18-year-old striker is expected to join Strasbourg on loan.

Hudson-Odoi has also seen Fulham walk away from talks with Chelsea after believing their asking price was too high.

French defender Sarr is struggling to attract offers due to his £100,00-a-week wages.