The agent of Romelu Lukaku has confirmed Manchester City attempted to lure him away from Inter Milan last summer, before the Chelsea striker eventually returned to the Premier League in August.
It has been no secret that Pep Guardiola is actively in the marker for a striker, with Sergio Aguero leaving in the summer and Gabriel Jesus not viewed as the man to consistently lead City’s frontline, with the club infamously failing in their attempts to sign Harry Kane in the window just gone.
A number of elite-status names have cropped up as potential City targets, but before the club’s well-documented pursuit of Tottenham and England marksman Kane, they were courting Lukaku last summer, with the player’s agent Federico Pastorello confirming their “very concrete” interest.
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The Belgian forward was sensational for Inter in Serie A as Antonio Conte’s men ended a protracted wait for the Scudetto, dethroning Juventus last season as they won the title, which encouraged Chelsea to bring him back to Stamford Bridge for £98m in the summer.
Since returning to Chelsea, Lukaku has bagged four goals in 11 games across all competitions, but he could have been firing them in whilst donning a different shade of blue had Guardiola got his way in the transfer window last year.
“I think I can say without disappointing anybody that Manchester City came in the year before,” Pastorello told Telegraph Sport.
“During the pandemic, it was very complicated because of trying to fly to places to meet people. It started very concrete and very serious, but eventually they changed their idea or they were not ready to make it happen.
“Honestly, it was very difficult after the first year – it was almost impossible. He hadn’t won the league with Inter and he wanted to do that, and it would have been really impossible. Then they [City] focussed on Harry Kane this summer.”
Lukaku took the plunge on signing for his former club after his representative warned him that is was “now or never” for Belgium’s record goalscorer to return to Stamford Bridge, with Pastorello revealing it took “five” offers from the Blues before Inter finally accepted their proposal.
“This is what I was telling Romelu, that it could be now or never, because probably he was not realising it 100 per cent at first,” Pastorello added.
“I had to tell him to remember that sometimes there are trains and when they pass, they don’t come back. Because of the situation, because of the market and because there were not many possibilities, this was Romelu’s train.
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“We had the opportunity to be in the right place at the right moment and I told him that if he wanted to come back, he needed to take it now.
“Chelsea were 100 per cent sure that he was the one, I never had doubts, but I think they needed to think twice before doing it.
“There were more offers before they got to the level Inter accepted. There were four offers and the fifth was the one that closed the talks. Looking back, I think everyone got a really good deal.”