Southgate warns England 'hard work starts now' for World Cup
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Romelu Lukaku has revealed he personally asked Inter Milan to agree a deal with Chelsea after the Serie A champions rejected three offers from the Blues for his services. The Belgian was set on staying at the San Siro earlier this summer despite the departure of his favourite boss Antonio Conte as he was adamant he was happy with life in Milan.
But Chelsea’s strong desire to make him the main man in their attack proved decisive.
Thomas Tuchel made Lukaku feel wanted after failing in his pursuit of Erling Haaland and that ultimately changed the picture.
Chelsea then entered the table and begun talks with Inter but their opening advances were rebuffed.
Now Lukaku has admitted that he was forced to intervene and outline his desire to join the Blues during talks with Simone Inzaghi after a third bid was rejected.
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“With Chelsea’s third offer I knew it was serious and my head was no longer in Milan,” Lukaku told HLN.
“Chelsea offered €110 million-plus Zappacosta, but Inter said no. I went to Inzaghi’s office to find an agreement.“I was at Inter, but my mind was already at Chelsea.
“Inter pulled me out of sh*t, I would have left the Nerazzurri only for the Blues.”
Chelsea eventually struck a club-record deal at £97.5m and Lukaku has taken no time to settle back in his old surroundings.
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The 28-year-old netted just minutes into his second Premier League debut for the club in the 2-0 win at Arsenal last month.
Lukaku feels he has some unfinished business to settle at Chelsea after he was sold to Everton back in 2014 following loan spells at Goodison Park and West Brom.
His manager has been rather impressed with the way the striker has hit the ground running and there is widespread confidence at Cobham that Chelsea could challenge on all fronts this season.
“I am very happy with how he has integrated already,” said Tuchel.
“He is a very smart guy. He likes to be in the group and he is a very democratic leader because he talks to everybody.
“He’s very friendly, very humble and totally competitive. He gives something to our game that we did not have so much [last season] like to protect balls and play very direct up front and to the last line.
“You cannot start better than the goal but he almost scored a second one here but it was a big save from Bernd Leno and he assisted some half chances. It was a good start but we have to improve from here.
“I didn’t expect too much [from Lukaku] because I wanted to be open to see his strengths and his capability to adapt and to link up between Kai, Mason and him. This is what he did very good, The guys like to play with one another and from now on we can go into details.”
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