Romelu Lukaku has delivered a rebuff to his agent as Chelsea’s record signing finds himself engulfed in another media storm following an interview with the Italian press.
Federico Pastorello, who has represented the Belgian striker since 2018, told La Repubblica on Friday that he would be looking to hold talks with Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly once the takeover of the club was complete. He also did little to cool speculation that Lukaku could return to Serie A a year after his club record move from Inter Milan and several months on from the striker’s own unauthorized interview with Sky Sports Italia in which he declared his lasting affection for the Nerazzuri.
Those comments provoked some tension between Lukaku on one side and manager Thomas Tuchel, the club hierarchy and supporters on the other. Though Chelsea boss Tuchel insisted Pastorello’s comments would not distract his side ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup Final, Lukaku himself has moved to draw a line under the issue.
Writing on Instagram, he said: “Never ever will I let someone speak for me… I kept my mouth shut and focused on helping the team and end[ing] the season in the best way possible.
“So if someone out there [is] trying to say something about me and the club… Not in my name.”
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Lukaku has worked hard to regain the trust of supporters and Tuchel in what has been a difficult start to 2022 for the Belgian. However, he has begun to find his scoring form in recent matches and with three goals to his name in his last two appearances the 29 year old is now Chelsea’s top scorer this season.
Asked to assess Lukaku’s campaign so far, Pastorello said: “I do not discuss the tactical choices, but it is obvious that there was a problem. The numbers, however, must be considered – he is still the team’s best scorer, with less playing time compared to his teammates. The situation must be carefully assessed, now there is Champions League qualification to secure, there is the FA Cup final. Romelu is focused on this. We have not talked about anything else.”
As to the possibility he might return to Inter, while Pastorello indicated that there had been a lot of “noise” over precious little, he did indicate a desire to talk about Lukaku’s future with Boehly. “He has [Inter] and the fans in his heart, he has never hidden it, like his love for Anderlecht where he would like to end his career.
“But we cannot think about negotiations. Chelsea are in takeover discussions, we do not know the new owners, let alone if we can open talks with Inter or AC Milan. We have to wait.”
This was an all too familiar experience for Tuchel, who dropped Lukaku from the squad that drew 2-2 with FA Cup Final opponents Liverpool in January after his interview. The German had been blindsided by news of Pastorello’s comments but insists though that it will not take his focus off tomorrow’s match at Wembley.
“If he plans to talk with the owner then maybe it’s not his plan to talk with me,” said Tuchel. “If he gets a meeting, maybe he can talk. It’s his right and we will talk to anybody and evaluate the situation of any player including Romelu.
“I was only aware of it five minutes ago. That’s what it is. Sometimes in football the tension is so high it attracts situations that you don’t want to have before big matches. For me it’s not a distraction and hopefully it’s not for everyone who works with the team.”