Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has shut down claims that the situation between himself and Romelu Lukaku hasn’t changed amid reports of a potential return to the first-team.
It comes after a rocky few years for the Belgian international after he completed a £97.5million return to Stamford Bridge under Thomas Tuchel. The striker got off to a good start, but illness and injury plagued his playing time back at Chelsea until an interview discussing a return to Inter Milan and slamming his manager’s tactics seemingly damaged relationships.
Lukaku wasn’t playing nearly as much and going into the next season, a loan deal was facilitated so he could make the move back to Inter. Over the year, the 30-year-old was in and out of the side, but managed to find a better run towards the end of the spell, which ended in a Champions League final.
However, coming back to London meant further uncertainty over his future as the Nerazzurri appear to have turned elsewhere in the market. A switch to the Saudi Pro League was rejected by the player, while a deal with Juventus appears to be a non-starter because of some tension due to club rivalry.
The head coach has denied such claims though, having fielded questions from the media in his pre-match press conference before Luton Town on Friday. He said: “No, the situation has not changed.”
When pressed on whether he could make a better impact on the first-team, with Raheem Sterling being used as an example this season, Pochettino replied: “Raheem, it is his credit not our credit. With Romelu, the situation was really clear. It was the wish between the player and the club to find a solution. If something changes, we will inform… If the player and clubs wish is to find a solution, it’s them. I’m not going to move until the club or the player want to talk with me. I accept the situation when I arrive.”