Romelu Lukaku has revealed he told Kai Havertz to join Chelsea when his Inter Milan met Bayer Leverkusen in the 2019/20 Europa League.
Lukaku’s Inter reached the final last year, but just came unstuck in the Cologne showpiece to a well-drilled Sevilla side under former Real Madrid and Spain manager Julen Lopetegui, with the Italian champions losing 3-2.
Lukaku broke the deadlock in the first five minutes in Germany, but it was his own goal a quarter of an hour from time that handed Sevilla their third goal on the night and ultimately, the winner as the Andalusians lifted a record sixth title.
En route to that final, Inter met Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals in Dusseldorf, with Lukaku and Havertz both scoring three minutes apart as the Italians progressed to the penultimate round 2-1, and the Belgian has since revealed he had a few words with his new team-mate after the match.
Havertz would join Chelsea a month later for £71m, and despite some initial teething problems acclimatising to the pace of the Premier League, the German midfielder came into his own towards the backend of last season under Thomas Tuchel, netting the Champions League winner.
Lukaku has since rejoined the club and will be linking up in tandem with Havertz at Stamford Bridge, an attacking prospect that may only have been realised if the versatile midfielder really did heed the Belgian’s words after that match-up in Dusseldorf.
“I spoke to Kai Havertz when we played against each other in the Europa League, and I told him to go to Chelsea, I don’t know if he remembers that conversation,” he told the club’s official website.
“It feels good to be back”
Lukaku went on to discuss what it meant to return to Chelsea, a club whom he initially joined as a teenager from Anderlecht in 2011.
Despite the promise around his signature, Lukaku struggled to break into Chelsea’s star-studded attack and he eventually left permanently for Everton after a highly-fruitful loan spell, but the Belgian is adamant he is relishing the prospect of a return to the capital.
“It feels good [to be back],” he added. “I feel blessed with the opportunity, very grateful. Eventually it was meant to happen. As a person, you have to dream and set yourself targets. The opportunity came along a the right time. The club wants to keep winning – the way my career has been going it was the chance of a lifetime.
“It’s time to put those words into practice on the pitch and keep working and winning. There is a little bit of unfinished business. I’ve learned a lot of the basics in my career 10 years ago in the dressing room with players who won it all.
“I witnessed it first hand in the training pitch, those are lessons I’ll learn for the rest of my career. I’ve put up big numbers, won the title with Inter last year and it’s all down to the basics I’ve learned, now at 28 I’m a totally different player, I became a man, my life has changed. Now I look forward to helping the team and helping the manager.”