Chelsea did not want to sign 26-year-old striker due to their experience with the Romelu Lukaku deal - Reports
Chelsea reportedly shied away from a move for Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez due to their bitter experience with another Serie A striker, Romelu Lukaku.
Lukaku, 30, arrived on a €100 million transfer from Inter Milan in the summer of 2021. He was coming off a marvellous season with the Nerazzurri, bagging 30 goals and 10 assists in 44 games across competitions. That included 24 goals and 10 assists in 36 games in their Serie A-winning campaign.
The Belgian was expected to light up Stamford Bridge on his second debut, having played 15 games for them without scoring a decade ago. However, Lukaku's campaign was an unmitigated disaster, as he failed to replicate his Inter exploits. In 44 games across competitions, he netted just 15 times and bagged two assists and was loaned back to Inter.
Lukaku returned from his loan spell but was not in the plans of new boss Mauricio Pochettino. So, he was sent on another loan spell, this time to AS Roma. Meanwhile, the Blues have had their eyes on Martinez, who has been a solid performer in the Italian top flight in the last few seasons.
As per Fichajes, the Blues have been linked with Martinez, who's expected to cost £129 million. However, after burning their hands with Lukaku, Chelsea are wary of repeating the trick with the 26-year-old Martinez. Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano said on football.london:
“Lautaro Martínez was never a topic discussed in the summer with Chelsea. After paying big money for Romelu Lukaku in the past, they were not willing to do a similar kind of deal.”
A deal for Martinez didn't materialise this summer despite the Blues splurging close to £450 million to overhaul their ageing squad.
How did Chelsea-target Lautaro Martinez fare at Inter Milan last season?
Lautaro Martinez enjoyed an impressive season with Inter Milan last season. The 2022 FIFA World Cup winner bagged 28 goals and 11 assists in 58 games across competitions.
Thanks to his exploits, Inter finished third in Serie A, reached the UEFA Champions League final and won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana. The 26-year-old has had a good start to the current campaign, too, bagging six goals and two assists in five games across competitions.
Considering Chelsea's struggles in front of goal this season - five goals in as many league games - they could have benefitted from a striker like Martinez. The Argentine is contracted to the Nerazzurri till 2026, but as per sempreinter, the club is planning to initiate discussions for a new deal soon.