Thomas Tuchel has responded to comments from Romelu Lukaku’s agent over a potential Chelsea exit for the forward this summer.
Lukaku has endured a difficult season since returning to Chelsea in a £97.5m club-record deal, struggling to command an automatic role in the side and scoring just eight league goals.
The Belgium international has been linked with an exit and the player’s agent, Federico Pastorello, this week hinted at a potential return to Italy for the former Inter Milan forward.
“He has the club and the fans in his heart, he has never hidden it, like his love for Anderlecht where he would like to end his career,” Pastorello told La Republicca.
“But we cannot think about negotiations. Chelsea are in takeover discussions, we do not know the new owners, let alone if we can open talks with Inter or AC Milan. We have to wait.”
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup final with Liverpool this weekend, Tuchel said the club will ‘evaluate the situation of any player’ unhappy at Stamford Bridge.
“If he plans to talk with the owner then maybe it’s not his plan to talk with me. It’s fair enough,” Tuchel told his pre-match press conference.
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Romelu Lukaku smashes the ball home to give Chelsea a 3-0 lead! 💥 pic.twitter.com/SXeWWh953o
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“If he gets a meeting, maybe he can talk. It’s his right, and we will talk to anybody and evaluate the situation of any player, including Romelu.
“I was just [made] aware of it 5-10 minutes ago. That’s what it is sometimes in football.
“The attention is so high that sometimes it attracts situations that you don’t want to have before big matches but it’s the way it is.
“For me it’s not a distraction, and for everyone else who works with the team hopefully it’s not too.”
Lukaku returned to form with two goals in Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Wolves last weekend, and netted another in the 3-0 victory over Leeds, though Tuchel refused to confirm whether the 29-year-old would start at Wembley.
The German did suggest, however, that it would be either Lukaku or Kai Havertz leading the line and appeared to rule out the prospect of the forwards operating as a pair.
“They can both play, but I thought they lacked a bit of a feeling of a perfect fit together,” he said.
“It’s very likely that it’s one of the two. Romelu played lately and he scored lately, so he did everything to stay on the pitch and it will be our final call tomorrow.”