Ivan Zazzaroni, the director of Corriere dello Sport, has shed new light on the transfer saga of Romelu Lukaku to AS Roma in his recent editorial.
According to Zazzaroni, Lukaku had initially believed that he would be moving to Juventus. In an attempt to bring the Belgian striker to Turin, Juventus had planned to pair Lukaku with Cristiano Ronaldo, at the cost of sacrificing Paulo Dybala. “We need someone like Lukaku, a forward who can play with his back to the goal, stretch the team and bring plenty of goals,” Allegri reportedly said, backing the move in February.
Subsequent talks began with Manchester United, who valued Lukaku at 85 million euros. Juventus made a counter-offer of 70 million euros for Dybala, along with 15 million for Mario Mandzukic. Zazzaroni reveals that while Mandzukic was quickly sold on the move, Dybala was less certain and his representatives’ demanding contract stipulations caused complications.
Moreover, after the Juventus deal fell through, the Pochettino-led Tottenham side made a move for Lukaku. Juventus, however, chose to hold onto Dybala. By this time, an option at Inter Milan had opened up for the Belgian striker.
It was then that Chelsea came into the picture. According to the Corriere dello Sport editorial, the English side didn’t have intentions to renew Lukaku’s Inter loan, and were also unwilling to let him go elsewhere. The relationship between Lukaku and Chelsea worsened when the player didn’t agree to a move to Al-Hilal; a deal which apparently involved an eye-watering sum for his transfer.
Towards the beginning of the summer, Lukaku was believed to be training alone in Brussels, assured of his move to Juventus. Meanwhile, as per the report, Juventus management in Turin was unsuccessfully trying to offload Dusan Vlahovic for more than 70m euros. They even received an offer from Chelsea to take Lukaku and 20m euros, but they deemed it unsatisfactory.
According to Zazzaroni, it was only just before the transfer window closed that AS Roma’s owner, Dan Friedkin, personally stepped in to seal the deal for Lukaku, overcoming several obstacles in the process.