Thomas Tuchel is planning a move for Romelu Lukaku as he considers how to build a dynasty at Chelsea and mould a side capable of challenging for the Premier League title next season after winning the Champions League on Saturday night.
Chelsea became European champions for the second time after their 1-0 victory over Manchester City at the Estadio do Dragão and Tuchel, who is close to signing a new two-year deal, is already hungry for more success. The manager, who met the club’s owner, Roman Abramovich, in person for the first time on Saturday, is targeting a maximum of three signings this summer and is keen to increase his options in attack, with Internazionale’s Lukaku prominent in his thoughts.
Inter will do all they can to keep Lukaku after signing him for £74m from Manchester United two years ago. The Italians will not want to make a loss on him and will first look to raise funds by selling the right-back Achraf Hakimi and the Argentina forward Lautaro Martínez. However, Chelsea have the financial means to test Inter’s resolve and Tuchel, who had further talks with Abramovich on Sunday, is determined to fashion an all-conquering side.
“We have to check with the owner if this is his plan,” Tuchel said. “It’s always possible. The belief is very strong. We have a group with a very strong bond. It’s still a young squad. It’s the challenge now to make this not too heavy for us, this huge success.
“It’s like a similar deal with Tom Brady when they ask him what is his favourite win and he says, ‘the next one’. We have a Premier League to play from day one. We will be seen a bit differently as Champions League winners and this is where we have to step up. If we really want to build something, I’m all in. I’m happy to discuss it. If our beliefs match, we go from there.”
A new striker is a priority for Tuchel, who is set to be handed a contract extension until 2023 with the option of a further year. Chelsea have lacked ruthlessness this season, with Timo Werner enduring a trying campaign, and will need a better cutting edge if they are to end City’s domestic supremacy after finishing fourth this season.
Chelsea, who could also strengthen in defence and midfield, are one of the clubs interested in Harry Kane, who wants to leave Tottenham. However, Spurs are unlikely to do business with them and it is also understood that Borussia Dortmund are determined not to lose Erling Haaland this summer. Dortmund would prefer to sell the England winger Jadon Sancho.
That has left Chelsea considering a reunion with Lukaku. A move for the Belgium striker, who had a brief spell in west London before joining Everton in 2013, could be feasible because of Inter’s financial difficulties. Inter need to sell players this summer and Lukaku is considering his future after seeing the former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte leave the Serie A champions by mutual consent last week.
Lukaku scored 24 goals in 36 appearances as Inter won the title for the first time since 2010. The 28-year-old’s goalscoring pedigree is not in doubt and Conte was close to bringing him back to Chelsea four years ago, only for United to sign the forward for £75m from Everton.
Tuchel has often played without a traditional No 9 since replacing Frank Lampard on an initial 18-month deal in January. Olivier Giroud could leave on a free transfer and Chelsea, who are due to hand Thiago Silva a new one-year deal, could raise funds by selling Tammy Abraham, who was not on the bench against City. West Ham and Leicester are interested in Abraham.
Other departures could also include Ross Barkley, Emerson Palmieri, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Fikayo Tomori. Milan are expected to make Tomori’s loan move permanent by signing the defender for £25m.
Chelsea are expected to open talks with Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen before both defenders run out of contract next summer. Yet they could need a new centre-back if Kurt Zouma leaves. They have looked at Bayern Munich’s Niklas Süle and Jérôme Boateng.
Another midfielder is also a possibility. Tuchel has revived Chelsea’s interest in Declan Rice, though there is no indication that West Ham are prepared to sell him. Other options include Benfica’s Julian Weigl, Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga and Monaco’s Aurélien Tchouaméni.
Yet Tuchel, who is set to receive an increase on his £7m a year salary, does not believe that Chelsea need many signings after spending £220m on seven players last summer. “Two or three could be very, very good,” he said. “We don’t need another seven. But we have some ideas to make the group stronger.”
Tuchel, who has been living in a hotel since arriving at Chelsea, will be joined by his family in London this summer. “We will get a house in the middle of July,” he said. “My family will come over in August. It felt like sacrifice. It was in some ways good to have the full concentration during this crazy time with corona and Brexit, and kids in school – that we don’t have to balance everything. But it was a lot for them.”