Romelu Lukaku is reportedly not planning to return to Chelsea on Wednesday as Inter Milan prepare a fresh bid to re-sign the Belgium international.
Chelsea had given Lukaku a return date of Wednesday to start pre-season training but the striker is set to stay away according to the Telegraph.
Having been unveiled as the new Chelsea manager last week, Mauricio Pochettino insisted he expected Lukaku to be part of the squad this week.
Pochettino said: “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.”
But the 30-year-old will stay away in the hope a new offer from Inter – thought to be over £25 million plus bonuses to get to around £35 million – will be accepted by Chelsea, though he may be disappointed as it is still short of their £40m valutation.
Lukaku is determined to return to Inter, and if that move doesn’t come to pass he wants to stay in Europe, but as things stand the only bid that’s met Chelsea’s price tag comes from Saudi Arabia.
That’s according to transfer expert Sacha Tavolieri, who reported the details of the huge contract put on the table by Al Hilal.
On Twitter (via @DeadlineDayLive) he wrote: ‘Al-Hilal have offered Romelu Lukaku a £70.3M package over 3 years.
‘They still hope to convince him to come. As it stands, the Saudi club are the only team willing to pay Chelsea’s £40m asking price.
‘Lukaku’s preference is to stay in Europe but he is considering his options.’
Lukaku is not the only wantaway player due back at Chelsea this week with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Hakim Ziyech due to return for pre-season training.
Both players also have offers from Saudi Arabia and it has been suggested that they may have to train away from Pochettino’s main first-team group should they report back.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is also thought to be training away from Chelsea’s main group after deciding that he wants to leave the club.