Former Real Madrid striker Antonio Cassano has insisted that he’ll stop watching Barcelona if Romelu Lukaku switches Stamford Bridge for Camp Nou. The Chelsea striker faces an uncertain future in west London having failed to impress since returning in the summer from Inter Milan.
Lukaku has struggled to make good on the eye-watering £97.5million price tag that heralded his return to west London, managing just five goals in 23 Premier League appearances for Thomas Tuchel’s side. A revealing interview towards the end of 2021 saw the 28-year-old admit that he was ‘not happy’ at the club, which did nothing to help the situation.
Since then, Lukaku has struggled to nail down a place in the side, with Timo Werner and Kai Havertz often preferred. But, despite his unconvincing displays when called upon, the Belgium international has courted interest from Barcelona ahead of the summer transfer window.
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The Spanish giants are supposedly in desperate need of a new No.9 next season, amid troubled attempts to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, according to Marca. The report outlines that Lukaku has surfaced as Xavi’s ‘Plan C’.
However, his potential move to Barcelona has rocked the boat. Cassano was outraged by the prospect of Lukaku representing the Catalan side and delivered a brutal verdict on the striker.
“I’m in love with Barca’s philosophy, but if they sign Lukaku I won’t watch a game anymore,” the former Italy international said to Bobo TV. “He can’t play three passes with Chelsea where he has no competition. At Barcelona they play 55 before going for goal, how could he do it?”
With the forward valued at just £59million now by CIES Football Observatory, still struggling and rumoured to be earning £350,000-a-week in west London, the new Chelsea owners may wish to cash-in on him if they can. Though they won’t be able to do that until the sale of the club is completed.
In the meantime, Tuchel has been keen to offer the Belgian some words of advice in a bid to reignite the flame which set Serie A alight prior to his homecoming. The Blues boss believes that Lukaku can still become a crucial figure in west London, but has put the ball in his court.
“For us it is clear, we can play with Romelu and we can be very strong with Romelu and we proved it,” Tuchel said last month. “And we will prove it if he is involved and keeps involved mentally and he stays involved in the situation to go through this he can grow from it and come back stronger.
“It is always like this and it is for sure disappointing for him and not what we expected, not what we expected at the moment, but it is not finished and we will not give in. We never give in with any players and we never give up.
“We will push him, we will push as far as we can and as long as the player stays involved in the mentality that is needed to bring a team forward he can still be a crucial player.”