Chelsea reportedly tried to offer Romelu Lukaku in a deal to sign one midfielder at a top club.
Romelu Lukaku is currently on loan at AS Roma, but Chelsea wanted to send him to their Serie A rivals Inter Milan in a bid to land Nicolo Barella, according to Tuttomercatoweb.
The striker spent last season at Inter, scoring 14 goals in 37 appearances for the Italian giants.
They were unable to keep hold of Lukaku, though, allowing Roma to eventually sign the Belgian.
Regarding Barella, a report from La Gazzetta dello Sport claimed that Inter value the 27-year-old at €80m (£68m).
Romelu Lukaku-Nicolo Barella swap deal would have been perfect for Chelsea
Chelsea swapping Lukaku for Barella in the summer transfer window would have made a lot of sense.
The Blues, at the time, were looking for midfield reinforcements, losing Jorginho in the 2023 January transfer window before the exits of N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
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And Lukaku, having spent the 2022/23 season on loan at Inter, clearly did not want to be part of Chelsea’s squad.
Had such a swap deal have gone through, the Blues probably would have ended up doing one of the deals of the summer. Barella is obviously a top midfielder.
For example, last season, the Italy international came up with 12 goal contributions in 35 league games, which is pretty good for a central midfielder. He also made 1.6 key passes per match, the third-highest average in Simone Inzaghi’s squad (WhoScored).
It was not to be, though, and Chelsea ended up with Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia instead.
The former was very expensive to say the least, while the latter has only played one game under Mauricio Pochettino this season because of injury, but they are both good midfielders in their own right.