'He needs to go to my office' - Romelu Lukaku to defy Mauricio Pochettino & ignore his order to return to Chelsea pre-season training as Inter transfer target seeks exit

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Romelu Lukaku Inter 2022-23
Inter Milan transfer target Romelu Lukaku is reportedly set to defy Mauricio Pochettino and refuse to return to Chelsea for pre-season training.
  • Pochettino asked Lukaku to return
  • Belgian striker wants Inter move
  • Not set to return for pre-season training

WHAT HAPPENED? The Telegraph reports that Lukaku will not return to west London on Wednesday as planned, as he waits to find out if Inter will be able to sign him once more, having taken him back on loan for the 2022/23 season. Pochettino, the Blues' new boss, had said previously that he expected the Belgium striker to travel back, so the pair could speak about his future.

WHAT THEY SAID: Pochettino said in his first Chelsea press conference: "I think the personal situations all the parties know what we think. In that case he needs to come back on the 12th or 13th [July] to be part of the squad and start pre-season. When the player arrives the first thing they are doing is to come to my office to see me and say hello. That is what I expect if he is still a Chelsea player."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lukaku has been the subject of a variety of offers, including one from Saudi Arabia, but he appears to be holding out for a permanent move to Inter. The Serie A club are expected, per The Telegraph, to bid around £35m ($45m) for the 30-year-old striker, but Chelsea value him at £40m ($52m).

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Mauricio Pochettino Chelsea 2023

Lukaku Inter Milan

WHAT NEXT? It remains to be seen if Chelsea will choose to discipline Lukaku if he does fail to return to the club.