Chelsea have re-signed striker Romelu Lukaku for a club-record £97.5m from Inter Milan.
Lukaku, who initially moved to Stamford Bridge as a 17-year-old from Belgian side Anderlecht in 2011, returns to Chelsea on a five-year deal.
The fee for Belgium’s record goalscorer surpasses
“I’m happy and blessed to be back at this wonderful club,” Lukaku told the club’s website. “It’s been a long journey for me: I came here as a kid who had a lot to learn, now I’m coming back with a lot of experience and more mature.
“The relationship I have with this club means so much to me, as you know. I have supported Chelsea as a kid and now to be back and try to help them win more titles is an amazing feeling.
“The way the club is going fits my ambitions perfectly at 28 and just coming off winning Serie A. I think this opportunity comes at the right time and hopefully we can have a lot of success together.
“Since I left Chelsea, it’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but these experiences made me strong and the challenge is to try to help the team win some more trophies. I can’t wait to get started and to help the club achieve more success.”
After leaving Chelsea in 2014, Lukaku became one of the most prolific strikers in Europe, scoring 87 goals in 166 games for Everton between 2014 and 2017, and 42 goals in 96 appearances during his two years at Manchester United before signing for Inter in 2019.
The 28-year-old scored 24 goals in Serie A last season, helping Inter to their first Scudetto in 11 years as the club put an end to Juventus’ nine-year reign as Italian top-flight champions.
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said: “Romelu Lukaku is quite simply one of the world’s best strikers and goalscorers. We are absolutely delighted to be bringing him back to the club he loves, and are excited to be adding his talent to our Champions League-winning squad.
“We are of course looking to build on last season’s success, and Lukaku will play a big role in achieving our targets.”
Chelsea, who were also interested in signing Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, have been in the market to sign a striker following the sale of Olivier Giroud to AC Milan.
Lukaku asked Inter to agree a transfer with Chelsea, despite publicly saying he would be staying in Milan before Euro 2020.
Inter had initially regarded Lukaku as untouchable this summer, but altered their stance amid pressure to reduce their wage bill.
The lack of available funds at the Italian club saw Antonio Conte walk away from Inter in May. He was replaced with Simone Inzaghi.
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