Romelu Lukaku's agent said the striker wants talks with Chelsea over his future at the club this summer in an interview with Italian media; Lukaku responded on Instagram, saying his agent's quotes were "not in my name"; Thomas Tuchel admitted he was unaware of Lukaku's supposed plans
Saturday 14 May 2022 09:33, UK
Romelu Lukaku has distanced himself from his agent's claim that the striker wants to hold talks with Chelsea this summer over his future at the club.
Lukaku joined Chelsea in a club-record £97.5m transfer from Inter Milan at the start of the season but has struggled to justify his hefty price tag.
The 29-year-old has been hampered by illness, injury and a lack of form, leading to him scoring just 15 goals in 42 games across all competitions for the Blues this season.
Lukaku gave a controversial interview to Sky in Italy in December in which he questioned Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel's tactics and raised the prospect of returning to Inter.
Since then, the striker has often found himself on the bench, with Tuchel preferring Kai Havertz as his No 9, although Lukaku has found form in the past week having scored three goals in the Blues' last two games.
Federico Pastorello, Lukaku's agent, gave an interview to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, published on Friday, in which he admitted his client had encountered "problems" at Stamford Bridge during the campaign and would seek talks with Chelsea, who are set to be taken over by Todd Boehly's consortium this month.
Pastorello said: "Given the figures of the transfer, no one could have expected such a situation. I'm not the one to discuss technical choices, but it is obvious that there was a problem.
"The numbers, however, must be weighted. He is the best scorer of the team this season, even with a lower playing time compared to his team-mates."
Lukaku appeared to be unhappy with his agent's public comments, though, and took to Instagram later on Friday to say Pastorello's interview was "not in my name".
"Never ever will I let someone speak for me," wrote Lukaku. "I kept my mouth shut and focused on helping the team end the season in the best way possible.
"So if someone [is] out there trying to say something about me and the club... not in my name."
Pastorello's comments have cast doubt on Lukaku's future at Chelsea for the second time this season, and both occasions have been caused by interviews published in the days leading up to crucial matches against Liverpool.
Lukaku's interview with Sky in Italy came ahead of a Premier League game against Jurgen Klopp's side. Tuchel opted to drop Lukaku for the match, which the Blues drew 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku's agent's comments have come to light just one day before Chelsea take on Liverpool in the FA Cup final at Wembley - a game the Belgian will be hoping to start following his impressive recent performances.
Tuchel admitted he only became aware of Pastorello's interview in the minutes leading up to his Friday press conference, but conceded it was Lukaku's "right" to seek a meeting with Chelsea's hierarchy.
"I think if he plans to talk with the owner maybe it is not his plan to talk with me," said Tuchel. "It's fair enough. Let's see if he gets a meeting! It is his right.
"We will talk to anybody. We will evaluate any situation of any player, including Romelu. We will see what is going to happen and what the plans are.
"I was only made aware of it five or 10 minutes ago actually. It's what sometimes happens in football. The attention is so high that sometimes it attracts situations that you don't want to have before big matches. It's the way it is.
"For me, it is not a distraction and hopefully for everybody that works on the team and the team itself it is not."
Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 10 and closes at 11pm on September 1?
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