Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
(BBC SPORT) Chelsea are close to sealing a deal to re-sign striker Romelu Lukaku for a club-record fee of £97.5m from Inter Milan.
Despite saying earlier in the summer he was happy to stay with the Italian champions, the 28-year-old Belgian reversed his stance this week and told Inter that he wanted to join Chelsea if the right offer was received.
The deal would be just short of the £100m British record that Manchester City paid Aston Villa for England midfielder Jack Grealish on Thursday.
Some details are still to be resolved, but provided there are no unexpected problems, Lukaku will return to the club where he spent three seasons from 2011, although two of those seasons were spent on loan at West Brom and Everton.
A return to Stamford Bridge this summer will come seven years after he left the west London club for Everton on a permanent deal in 2014.
He almost re-joined them again in 2017, but instead opted to sign for Manchester United for an initial £75m.
If Chelsea now pay £97.5m to get him back, that will mean two of the top six fees paid for a player in British football have been for Lukaku.
Lukaku scored 47 goals in 72 Serie A appearances over two seasons at the San Siro, helping Inter to a first league title since 2010 last term.
He initially moved to Chelsea from Anderlecht as an 18-year-old a decade ago but scored just one goal in 15 games over three seasons before being sold to Everton for £28m.
He scored 53 goals in 110 Premier League appearances for the Toffees after that, with United then making him the second most expensive player in British football history when they signed him in July 2017.
Two years later, having scored 42 goals in 96 games for United, he joined Inter for a club-record £74m.
Lukaku, who is Belgium’s all-time top goalscorer with 64 goals, became the third most expensive buy in Italian history and is now poised to be the most expensive player ever sold by a Serie A club.
Chelsea had been heavily linked with Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland earlier in the summer, but the German club ruled out selling the 21-year-old Norwegian this summer.