The Belgian striker returned to Stamford Bridge last summer in a £97.5m deal from Inter Milan but struggled to meet his price tag, angering fans with an interview poorly judged and looking like a bad choice for Thomas Tuchel’s style of play.
Lukaku is keen to return to San Siro but Inter lack the funds to buy him out, while Chelsea were looking to receive a loan fee of around £21million.
Nonetheless, Chelsea’s decision to lower the loan fee indicates how keen they are to offload Lukaku – even if only temporarily – and they are already looking for forwards who are better suited to Tuchel’s football.
The club’s preference this time is not to sign a number nine like Lukaku, but rather a flexible, energetic and inward pressing player.
There are three main names in the frame, with Chelsea seriously considering a move for Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus – who is Arsenal’s main transfer target this summer.
The Brazilian ticks all the boxes Chelsea are looking for, capable of playing on the front line and possessing a huge work rate, while City are looking to cash in after signing Erling Haaland.
Jesus’ City team-mate Raheem Sterling is also valued by the Chelsea hierarchy, as well as RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku – both of these goals suggesting Tuchel will return to the false nine setup that has been so successful.
Although he has previously been interested in Robert Lewandowski – who has asked to leave Bayern Munich and is wanted by Barcelona – Chelsea are unlikely to follow his interest this time around.
Armando Broja, meanwhile, will have the chance to impress in pre-season as a more traditional striker option, although he has a long list of suitors should Chelsea decide to cash in.
MORE: Chelsea join Manchester United in race to sign Inter Milan defender Denzel Dumfries
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