Chelsea ‘want Martinez as part of Lukaku’s loan to Inter Milan’

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Chelsea are seeking a ‘counterpart’ as part of Romelu Lukaku’s loan to Inter Milan, with Lautaro Martinez a possible target, according to reports.

The £98million Belgian forward is unsettled at Stamford Bridge and looks certain to seal a temporary exit from the club this summer – with reports suggesting new owner Todd Boehly is ready to sanction Lukaku’s return to Inter – providing they stump up a £20m loan fee.

But Chelsea are also exploring the possibility of bringing a player in from Inter as part of the deal and are keen on signing one of three players – Martinez, Lukaku’s former strike partner, Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Lukaku has failed to impress since sealing his return to west London last summer, scoring just eight times in the league, and infamously gave an interview to the Italian media saying he was unhappy at the club back in December.

Martinez and Lukaku struck up a great partnership and friendship together at the San Siro, and the latter even named-dropped his former team-mate – warning him not to join Chelsea because he would soon be back with him at Inter.

‘Lautaro Martinez coming here with me at Chelsea in the future?’ he said.

‘No… Lautaro, you can stay in Milan, I’ll be back there (laughs).’

Sportsmail reported this week that Chelsea had opened talks with Inter regarding a deal for Skriniar – though the two clubs are still far away in their valuation – while Italy international Bastoni is being targeted by both Manchester United and Tottenham.

The Blues are very much open to a loan deal, the report adds, following previous stories from the Italian press that new Chelsea chief Todd Boehly was ready to sanction the move amid uncertainty around the player.

Amid increasing friction between Lukaku and manager Thomas Tuchel, the player was dropped for a number of games and now the German is set to sit down with Boehly to discuss a timeline for his exit, Gazetta reported on Tuesday.

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