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Long injury list won't push Chelsea to reintegrate Lukaku to squad under Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino Chelsea Mauricio Pochettino - The Canadian Press

LONDON (AP) — Romelu Lukaku’s relationship with Chelsea remains broken despite a lengthening list of injured attackers that is proving a frustration for manager Mauricio Pochettino early in his tenure at the English club.

Lukaku has not been given a squad number by Chelsea this season and has made clear his desire to leave Stamford Bridge. The Belgium striker joined Chelsea for a then-club-record fee of $135 million in August 2021 but spent last season on loan at Inter Milan.

Chelsea has been unwilling to consider another loan move and would rather sell Lukaku.

If ever there was a time for Lukaku to be reintegrated to the senior squad, it is now.

On Thursday, winger Mykhailo Mudryk joined an injury list that already contains striker Christopher Nkunku and attacking midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka. Armando Broja, another striker, is not yet ready to play as he recovers from an ACL injury that has kept him out since December.

It leaves Pochettino with only one recognized striker for the visit of Luton on Friday — offseason signing Nicolas Jackson.

So, does that leave the door open for a possible return for Lukaku?

No, according to Pochettino, who didn’t refer to Lukaku by name when answering numerous questions about him Thursday.

“The situation with the player you are asking is a situation that was already really clear before we arrived here,” said Pochettino, who was hired in May. “There was a wish between the club and the player to try to find a solution (for a new club). At the moment we are relaxed and nothing happened. If something changes we will inform.”

Pochettino maintains it is an issue between the club and Lukaku, and that he wasn't getting involved.

“I’m not going to move until the club or the player want to talk with me. I am here, I accept the situation that was here when I arrived,” he said.

“The club and the player, both try to find a solution. The future can change things. … If something changes we will adapt to the situation.”

Lukaku has been linked with a transfer to Juventus but a section of the club's fans has voiced its objection to the move.


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