£38m transfer clause is too rich even for Champions League clubs; Chelsea stuck with same old problem

Fabrizio Romano has given an update on Romelu Lukaku’s situation at Chelsea, and as ever it’s slightly bleak.

The transfer insider has effectively shut down any hopes the Blues might have of offloading their wantaway Belgian to Roma where he’s been on loan this season, even if the Giallorossi qualify for the Champions League.

Romano ends on a positive spin, but it’s not looking great for Chelsea, who desperately want an early sale to clear space on their books.

“Even if AS Roma qualifies for the Champions League next season, it’s still going to be very difficult for the Italian club to keep Romelu Lukaku for the 2024/25 season. It’s a really expensive deal with Chelsea as the striker has a £38m clause and also the player’s wages will be high,” Romano wrote in his exclusive column for Caughtoffside.

“I expect Roma to move on from Lukaku this summer, leaving Chelsea to look at different solutions for Romelu as he will not return to the Italian capital.

“There is interest from Saudi Arabia but that is not the only possibility for the striker. The 30-year-old is still young and is still a top player, which he has shown this season by scoring 20 goals in a Roma shirt.”

Options thinner than ever

It’s not what Chelsea want to hear, but it’s something they must have been expecting, and they can’t say they haven’t had time to prepare.

As Romano points out, their best hope is that Lukaku does what he didn’t want to do last summer and accepts a move to Saudi Arabia. That gives Chelsea a good sum of money for the transfer, but most importantly it creates a market for the striker and his enormous wages.

As we can see, even qualifying for the Champions League doesn’t allow teams to afford him necessarily, and among European sides there once again seems to be little to no interest in the striker on a permanent deal.

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