Centre-forwards have rarely been in greater demand with a whole host of Europe’s elite in the market for attacking reinforcements this summer, several sides seeking a new number nine to increase their goal threat.
Amongst the most attractive potential targets is Romelu Lukaku, who has taken his game to new heights since leaving the Premier League for Inter Milan in 2019.
Lukaku scored more than a century of goals in England’s top tier before moving to the San Siro, where has since become the fastest player in Inter’s history to reach 50 goals in all competitions.
The 27-year-old has scored 60 goals in just 86 appearances for the Nerazzurri, who may just be braced for big-money bids for the Belgian this summer.
Here are the five favourites to sign Romelu Lukaku.
Bayern Munich – 16/1
Bayern Munich have been priced as 16/1 odds to sign the Belgium international, with Lukaku perhaps offering a longer-term replacement for the goalscoring genius of Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski will turn 33 in August and is entering the final stages of a glittering career, though the search for a replacement hardly seems a priority given the Poland international is currently enjoying the best period of his career.
Lewandowski has scored a staggering 35 goals in just 25 league appearances this season, with Gerd Muller’s single season record of 40 well within his sights before the end of the current campaign.
Whilst the signing of a leading replacement might arise in the not too distant future, it appears unlikely Bayern would risk upsetting one of the world’s finest footballers with some big-name competition this summer.
Real Madrid – 12/1
Real Madrid are amongst a number of leading sides seeking centre-forward additions, the club’s continued reliance on a 33-year-old Karim Benzema a concern for the hierarchy.
Benzema has been in brilliant form once again this season but there has been a distinct lack of alternative routes to goal, the five goals of defensive midfielder Casemiro the second highest individual tally amongst Real’s current squad.
The Spanish champions are currently in the long list of suitors for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, though Lukaku offers an interesting alternative should a move for the Norwegian fail to materialise.
Lukaku’s proven goal record at some of European football’s biggest clubs makes him an ideal candidate to lead the line at the Bernabeu, with the La Liga side’s project in need of fresh impetus in attack.
Manchester City – 8/1
Sergio Aguero’s confirmation that he will leave Manchester City this summer has opened up a vacancy at the Etihad, one which Lukaku has been continually linked with filling in recent months.
Lukaku previously spent two seasons on the opposite side of the Manchester divide, where despite an impressive goalscoring record was often a target for critics regarding his all-round game.
As many leading reporters who write essays for money have noted, Lukaku returning to the Premier League with Manchester City would offer a fascinating narrative ahead of next season. Although Pep Guardiola’s side have performed superbly this season without a recognised number nine.
Lukaku would no doubt relish the service provided by international teammate Kevin De Bruyne on a weekly basis, alongside the chance to prove a point to those who ushered him out the Old Trafford exit door.
Paris Saint-Germain – 7/1
Paris Saint-Germain may be in the market for a new centre-forward this summer and are amongst the few clubs capable of affording Lukaku, the 27-year-old potentially costing in excess of £100m given his exploits for Inter.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side currently have Moise Keane on loan for the season from Everton, whilst Maurco Icardi has endured an injury-hit campaign during his second season at the Parc des Princes.
The prospect of Lukaku leading a forward line containing both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe is an enticing one and recent reports have linked the Parisians with joining the race for his signature.
Pochettino will be well aware of the forward’s talents after witnessing them first hand in the Premier League and his arrival would be a welcome addition ahead of the Argentine’s first summer in charge in the French capital.
Chelsea – 5/1
Chelsea have watched on as Lukaku has become one of Europe’s deadliest forwards since leaving the club in 2014, having signed the star as a teenager from Anderlecht.
Lukaku made just 15 goalless appearances for the west London side and spent time on loan with West Brom and Everton before joining the latter on a permanent basis, evolving into one of the Premier League’s most reliable goalscorers.
Chelsea were reportedly interested in re-signing the player before his move to Manchester United and the bookmakers regard the Blues as his most likely destination should he leave Inter this summer.
Thomas Tuchel is understood to be keen to sign a new striker this summer with Olivier Giroud expected to leave the club, whilst Timo Werner has struggled during his debut season and Tammy Abraham has been marginalised in recent weeks.
Lukaku’s proven record in English football could make him the perfect signing to launch the Tuchel era, as Chelsea look to build a side capable of challenging for the game’s biggest prizes once again.