Romelu Lukaku to Barcelona – will it happen?

Martin Macdonald
Romelu Lukaku to Barcelona – will it happen?

Romelu Lukaku could be set for a sensational transfer away from Inter this summer, with Manchester City and Barcelona two of the clubs apparently interested in move in the next transfer window.

This week, Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo reported that Ronald Koeman will be retained as Barcelona head coach despite the team’s struggles this season, and that the Dutchman will have a major input in what players are targeted for recruitment.

READ MORE: Koeman set to stay at Barcelona and has already provided a transfer wishlist for 2021/22

Within the same report, Lukaku and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland were mentioned as Barcelona’s two primary targets for the centre-forward position, which is currently occupied at the moment at Camp Nou by Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite, and on occasion Lionel Messi.

Messi’s preferred position is, of course, the number 10 role, so the club are keen to bring in a classic number nine to play just ahead.

Lukaku is arguably playing the best football of his career at the moment with Inter and has scored 42 Serie A goals in 56 games since moving the move from Manchester United a couple of years ago.

Due to Inter’s current financial situation, they may be forced to sell some of their prized assets this summer, of which Lukaku is one.

Why Lukaku to Barcelona won’t happen

At the moment, Lukaku is second choice for Barcelona behind Haaland, not only due to talent on the field but also due to the fact that the big Norwegian is only 20 and so could potentially play for the club for the next decade or beyond.

But, Koeman worked with Lukaku for a short period at Everton and remains a fan of the player so would certainly not be disappointed if it ended up being him instead of Haaland.

Ronald Koeman and Romelu Lukaku at Everton

Ronald Koeman and Romelu Lukaku at Everton

However, Barcelona are simply not in a position to afford the kind of fees that it would take to prise Haaland away from Dortmund or Lukaku away from Inter at the moment.

The Blaugrana are currently over €1.2 billion in debt, and would require the exit of some of the fringe players at the club before they can even entertain the idea of spending.

Indeed, this summer they will be primarily targeting the free transfer signings of Memphis Depay from Lyon and Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool.

Why Lukaku to Barcelona could happen

It is unlikely that Barcelona will sort out their financial situation before the summer, but if certain players leave then that would open up funds and wages to potentially bring in new recruits.

If Lionel Messi opts to leave, for example, that would take a massive financial burden off the club in terms of wages, while they are looking for suitors for Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, and potentially even Antoine Griezmann.

New president Joan Laporta has also promised a restructure of some debt, and although it hasn’t been detailed how that could be possible yet, it could create some breathing room and extra money for transfers.