Antonio Conte is adamant Romelu Lukaku was a good signing for Chelsea, despite the Belgium international re-joining Inter Milan on loan earlier this summer.
Lukaku, 29, shocked the footballing world after he opted to leave the San Siro in favour of a move back to former club Chelsea just weeks after lifting the Serie A title with Inter Milan.
The summer of 2021 saw the 29-year-old re-sign for the Blues eight years after departing in a deal worth an eye-watering £102m. The move meant Lukaku became the world’s most expensive player in accumulative transfer fees.
However, despite his mammoth price tag and being known as one of Europe’s most powerful strikers, Lukaku’s Stamford Bridge homecoming was a major disappointment.
Even though he scored a brace on his second debut against arch-rivals Arsenal, the former Everton and Man United striker struggled to continue his form and quickly fell way down in Thomas Tuchel’s pecking order.
Forced to offload the disruptive forward, this summer presented Lukaku with the chance to return to Italy – an opportunity all parties grabbed with both hands.
However, despite fans’ understandable disappointment at a transfer that should have seen the Blues challenge for major silverware, manager Conte, who was the man responsible for bringing Lukaku to Inter Milan, has insisted the experienced talisman was a ‘good signing’ for his former club.
“But sometimes a situation outside of football happens and I think Romelu lived two years in Milan and he was the king,” the Spurs boss told the Telegraph.
“The fans showed him a lot of passion and I think he’s a guy who needs this. And for this reason, I think he wanted to go back to Milan.
“But, for sure, the signing was a good signing for Chelsea. Then, you know very well there are players that need more time to make an impact. But, for sure, he was a good signing for Chelsea.
“He has the potential to play in the Premier League. I remember very well when he started to play last season, he played really well and you in the media said Lukaku is really strong.
“A lot of things can happen for the confidence to drop. Now it’s right for him to play for an important club in Italy to try to get again confidence in himself. But we are talking about a really important, a really good striker.”
Since returning to Chelsea 12 months ago, Lukaku, although now back in the Serie A, featured in just 25 Premier League matches, scoring an underwhelming eight goals along the way.