How Abraham is stalling Chelsea’s Lukaku move

Robin Bairner
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Romelu Lukaku is widely expected to sign for Chelsea from Inter in the coming days, though it is a move that is not yet a foregone conclusion.

Chelsea watched Manchester City break the Premier League transfer record by signing Jack Grealish for €117.5 million (£100m) earlier this week, but that mark could stand for a matter of days if Inter get their way.

The Serie A club are hopeful of recouping at least €120m for Lukaku, although it is reported they will try to hold out for €130m. Complicating matters is the fact that the Italian champions want a pure cash deal.

Even for Chelsea, who have yet to make a major signing this summer, this will require some work.

Abraham's long list of suitors

The Telegraph reports that in order to raise the funds to allow them to sign Lukaku, they will first half to offload academy product Tammy Abraham.

Abraham, who boasts an impressive strike rate in the Premier League but not the profile that Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel wants from his centre-forward, is not short of suitors. Atalanta, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Southampton are all interested in the forward.

The 23-year-old, however, is prepared to be patient over his future, though.

An Arsenal fan during his childhood, a switch across London would naturally be an attractive proposition for Abraham, but it is reported that the Gunners, in turn, would need to sell players to fund the deal.

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Aston Villa, meanwhile, recently signed Danny Ings and a move for the Chelsea striker now appears to be a distant prospect. Equally, though, Abraham’s interest in going to Southampton is not thought to be especially strong given their modest Premier League standing.

And as for Atalanta, the Serie A club may only move to sign him if they lose Duvan Zapata to Inter as Lukaku’s replacement.

Chelsea, meanwhile, likely see this as the ideal summer to sell Abraham, a player with only two years left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There are, then, many threads to unpick in this complicated saga, which is holding up Chelsea’s deal for Lukaku – a transfer saga that Inter want to be completed by 21 August, when they begin their Serie A campaign.