Inter warn Chelsea off Martinez in Lukaku deal but offer CB pair as makeweights

Will Ford
Reported Arsenal target Lautaro Martinez celebrates a goal

Inter Milan are reportedly against the idea of Lautaro Martinez moving to Chelsea as part of a deal for Romelu Lukaku, but are willing to offer a pair of centre-backs in exchange.

There have been widespread reports in recent days of Lukaku moving back to the Serie A club this summer.

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The Belgian striker swapped Inter for Chelsea a year ago but has failed to settle at Stamford Bridge, scoring just eight goals in the Premier League last term, and infamously giving an interview in which he questioned Thomas Tuchel’s tactics and revealed his unhappiness.

It was claimed earlier this week that Chelsea were considering allowing him to leave on loan for a fee of around £21m, while still paying two thirds of his wages, amounting to £200,000 a week.

And a report on Wednesday claimed Chelsea were exploring the possibility of bringing in a player from Inter as part of the deal, with Martinez chief among them, along with centre-back duo Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni.

CBS reporter Ben Jacobs claims that Inter would ‘prefer not to lose Martinez’, with the club keen to reuinite him with Lukaku, after the pair took Serie A by storm in tandem to win the title in the 2020-21 season.

Furthermore, Martinez’s agent Alejandro Camano recently declared his client was happy at Inter: “We are not depending on a transfer. He is at Inter, he is happy, the city is wonderful.

“Sometimes the press publishes things about a transfer but Lautaro is thinking about Inter, giving the people of Inter joy, becoming champions and working for the World Cup.”

But both Bastoni and Skriniar are potential options in negotiations.

He adds that both Tottenham and Manchester United are also in the hunt for Bastoni, with Inter wanting £50m for the 23-year-old, who has two years left on his current contract.

Lukaku is said to have no interest in a move to Bayern Munich and is prepared to take a significant wage cut to force through a move.

Tuchel is happy for Lukaku to leave but new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly will only sanction the Belgian’s departure if it makes financial sense.