Romelu Lukaku is officially a Chelsea player again, signing a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge for a club-record fee.
The 28-year-old has spent the last two years at Serie A champions Inter Milan, who accepted the £97.5million offer last weekend.
“I’m happy and blessed to be back at this wonderful club,” said Lukaku. “It’s been a long journey for me. I came here as a kid who had a lot to learn, now I’m coming back with a lot of experience and more mature.
“The relationship I have with this club means so much to me, as you know. I have supported Chelsea as a kid and now to be back and try to help them win more titles is an amazing feeling.
“The way the club is going fits my ambitions perfectly at 28 and just coming off winning Serie A. I think this opportunity comes at the right time and hopefully we can have a lot of success together.
“Since I left Chelsea, it’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but these experiences made me strong and the challenge is to try to help the team win some more trophies. I can’t wait to get started and to help the club achieve more success.”
The decision to move back to London, seven years after leaving for Everton in a £28m move, marks a change of heart for Lukaku having said earlier in the summer he was happy in Italy.
He almost re-joined Chelsea in 2017, but moved to Manchester United for £75m instead, before moving to Inter two years later.
He played a key role for the club last season as they ended Juventus’ dominance to win Serie A. He scored 24 goals and created 11 in the process.
Chelsea had been interested in Erling Haaland, but it seems Lukaku was more attainable and, more importantly, affordable.
He is their most expensive signing ever, however, and is expected to be paid £250,000-a-week.
The striker has proven to be a costly player for his clubs…
2011: Chelsea pay Anderlecht £20m
2014: Everton pay Chelsea £28m
2019: Man United pay Everton £75m
2021: Chelsea pay Inter £97.5m
The signing is a major coup for Thomas Tuchel with talkSPORT host Trevor Sinclair backing Chelsea to beat Manchester City to the Premier League title.
He told talkSPORT on Monday: “If Lukaku ends up going to Chelsea, I make them favourites.
“Look at the problems that City have potentially got. There are players coming back from the Euros which can take a few months when you’ve gone deep into a tournament.
“If you look at Kevin De Bruyne and his problems with his ankle ligaments, Foden has got a boot on, so they are looking stretched at the moment.
“If they don’t get Harry Kane in I feel they’ll have a struggle getting the season off to a good start.”