Romelu Lukaku must rediscover the form that fired Inter to the Scudetto in 2021 should he return to the Nerazzurri, former Italy striker Christian Vieri has said.

Lukaku scored 24 goals under the stewardship of Antonio Conte as Inter lifted the Serie A title in the 2020-21 campaign, before returning to Chelsea for a club-record £97.5million fee.

The Belgium international struggled on his Stamford Bridge return, scoring just eight times in 26 Premier League appearances.

Lukaku is widely expected to head back to Inter on loan less than a year after leaving, as Simone Inzaghi looks to assemble his side to reclaim the Scudetto from fierce rivals Milan.

The 29-year-old will hope to regain the confidence he had during his two-year spell with Inter, with no Nerazzurri player scoring more times (64), providing more assists (17) or creating as many chances (133) in all competitions in that period.

Vieri understands the pressure of a big-money move, having joined Inter in a then world-record €49m transfer in 1999 from Lazio, but insists Lukaku must find the old version of himself with the Nerazzurri.

"I wouldn't want to talk about players who haven't signed yet. We'll see how it ends, the teams are working to become stronger and stronger," Vieri said on his podcast.

"He is still a great player, he has scored many goals all over the world. Last year he did very badly with Chelsea, few games and very few goals.

"If he returns, he will have to prove that he is the Lukaku seen at Inter."

While Inzaghi will be delighted to bolster his attacking ranks, with Paulo Dybala also reportedly set to arrive from Juventus, not all at Inter are keen to welcome Lukaku back.

After Lukaku expressed his desire to return to Inter in a controversial interview in December, the Nerazzurri supporters group Curva Nord unveiled a banner, stating: "It doesn't matter who runs away in the rain, what matters is who stays in the storm. Bye Romelu".

Curva Nord issued another statement on Wednesday, assuring they have not forgotten about Lukaku's exit to Chelsea that they felt betrayed the Nerazzurri.

"He was supported and treated like a king, now he is one like another player," the group posted on Instagram. "We took note of Lukaku's betrayal and we were very upset.

"To a footballer these things can be forgiven over time, but they remain. Let us also be clear to everyone that we will never cheer against Lukaku if he wears the Inter shirt again.

"However, we invite all Inter fans not to fall into the trap of running immediately and drooling after him. 

"In addition to a clear instinctive emotional aspect, pretending that nothing has happened, would only give a further acceleration to that process that has been going on for years aimed at making us all stupid and supine consumers."

Romelu Lukaku could make a "huge difference" to Inter's attack should he return to the club from Chelsea, according to Blues legend Gianfranco Zola.

Lukaku is closing in on a return to San Siro less than a year after joining Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million transfer, with Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta revealing on Monday the club are in talks to sign both the Belgian and Juventus' Paulo Dybala.

The Chelsea striker only scored eight Premier League goals as Chelsea finished third in the English top flight last term, and reportedly wants to return to the club with whom he won Serie A in 2020-21.

Lukaku scored 30 goals and recorded 11 assists in 44 appearances for Inter in his last season with the Nerazzurri, averaging a goal every 118.77 minutes.

Among strikers in the top five European leagues to hit 20 goals or more in all competitions that campaign, only eight averaged fewer minutes between strikes than the Belgian, including the likes of Robert Lewandowski (70.6), Kylian Mbappe (88.62), Cristiano Ronaldo (104.19) and Lionel Messi (110.32).

Chelsea great Zola thinks Lukaku could make the difference for an Inter side that missed out on the Serie A title by just two points last season.

"Lukaku continued to express this desire to return to Inter where he had found himself very well, but honestly I thought it was a difficult operation," he told Sky in Italy.

"If he returned to Inter, he would be a player capable of making a huge difference, also in light of this year's difficulties."

Another high-profile player to be linked with a move to Italy is Angel Di Maria, who is available on a free transfer after announcing his departure from Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentina international is reportedly a target for Juventus, and Zola believes that move would benefit both the Bianconeri and Serie A as a whole.

However, he also called on Italian football to do more to produce young attacking players of Di Maria's quality after Roberto Mancini's Azzurri missed out on qualification for the World Cup and made a poor start to their Nations League campaign.

"He has important experience and quality, players of this calibre raise the level of our football," Zola said of Di Maria.

"But we must think of creating higher quality players in our youth sector, especially in the last 40 metres [before goal], where we lack."

Simone Inzaghi has signed a contract extension with Inter, tying him to the club until June 2024. 

The 46-year-old took over from Antonio Conte in 2021 and impressed in his first season at the helm of the Nerazzurri, which followed the departures of key duo Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi.

And Inter confirmed on Tuesday that he had signed a new two-year deal.

Despite missing out on the Scudetto to local rivals Milan, Inzaghi did lead Inter to success in the Supercoppa Italiana and the Coppa Italia – requiring extra time to overcome Juventus on both occasions.

As Inter prepare for a bid to regain the Serie A title, the Nerazzurri have taken the decision to hand Inzaghi fresh terms.

Inter are hoping to build on Inzaghi's new deal by sealing a San Siro return for former talisman Lukaku, just one season after selling him to Chelsea for a reported €115million. 

Lukaku endured a tough first season after returning to Stamford Bridge and will hope to rediscover the form that encouraged Chelsea to make him their record signing if he completes his move back to Italy.

Across his two previous seasons at Inter, Lukaku scored 64 goals and supplied 17 assists – both team highs during that time frame. He also led the way in shots on target (132), chances created (133), aerial duels won (185) and dribbles completed (103).

Inter are also locked in talks to sign Paulo Dybala on a free transfer from Juventus, with chief executive Giuseppe Marotta admitting the Nerazzurri's interest in acquiring both attackers on Monday.

 

Tottenham and Chelsea target Alessandro Bastoni will "100 per cent" be staying at Inter, while Simone Inzaghi has agreed a new contract with the Nerazzurri.

That is the message from football agent Tullio Tinti, who represents Inter duo Bastoni and Inzaghi.

Chelsea are in the market for a new centre-back, with Antonio Rudiger leaving for Real Madrid, Andreas Christensen departing and talk of Cesar Azpilicueta joining Barcelona.

Tottenham are also in the search for another defender as Antonio Conte looks to continue to invest to build a side capable of competing in the Premier League and Champions League.

Bastoni has been a name repeatedly linked with the two clubs, alongside Manchester United, but the Italy international's agent Tinti insists a move will not happen.

"Bastoni is currently on vacation," Tinti told reporters. "He is staying at Inter 100 per cent. We respect our contracts and are happy to discuss an extension when Inter call us."

Inter are said to be close to announcing a new contract for coach Inzaghi, who took over from Conte in 2021 and narrowly finished second in Serie A behind Milan.

Tinti simply responded "yes" when asked if the Inzaghi extension was agreed upon, with confirmation expected in the coming days.

Bastoni staying and the Inzaghi extension will provide a boost to Inter, who are aiming to bolster their attacking ranks with the additions of Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku only left for Chelsea before the start of the 2021-22 campaign in a Blues' record £97.5million move, but is expected to return on loan to the Serie A side.

During his previous two-year spell, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions than the Belgium international.

Lautaro Martinez remains "indispensable" to Inter, while the Nerazzurri are also continuing discussions with Romelu Lukaku to see if there is a chance to strike a deal.

That is the message from Inter chief Giuseppe Marotta, who spoke to Radio Anch'Io on Monday to provide an update on their transfer business.

Lukaku will reportedly return to Inter on loan less than a year after leaving Italy to re-sign for Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million transfer, having only scored eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances.

The striker fired Inter to Scudetto glory in 2020-21 and across his two-year spell, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.

Paulo Dybala also seems set to join Inter on a free transfer from Juventus as Marotta assured negotiations are ongoing to bring the attacking pair to Simone Inzaghi's side.

"It is difficult to give a precise answer. They are our targets but we must evaluate the finances," he said, as quoted by FCInternews.

"I cannot hide that we want these players, we want to sign them. If not, we will move on to other targets. 

"A single player is not important, what matters is the group and this is already a solid team."

When asked if Lukaku's loan would be confirmed on Monday, Lukaku responded: "Absolutely not. More generally, we want to create a competitive team while respecting [financial] sustainability.

"Lukaku is a viable signing but there are still some difficulties and we have to evaluate if there are the right conditions to do the deal."

Dybala and Lukaku could form a fearsome frontline with Lautaro Martinez as Inter look to reclaim the Serie A title from fierce rivals Milan.

Martinez was comfortably Inter's top league scorer in the 2021-22 season, with his 21 goals eight ahead of nearest challenger Edin Dzeko, and Marotta says it is vital to keep the Argentina international amid links to Chelsea and Tottenham.

"We have our targets, which means make money in the transfer market and contain salary costs," he added. 

"It is in our interest to keep a strong team because that is in the history of the club. We believe that Lautaro is indispensable to continue to pursue these objectives."

Tottenham are reportedly looking to swoop in with an offer for Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, who has been a key target this transfer period for rivals Arsenal.

Just days ago stories were written about Arsenal feeling "cautiously optimistic" about their chances of landing the 25-year-old Brazilian, despite their reported bid of £30million falling well below City's £50m asking price.

That move is now in jeopardy thanks to Tottenham's involvement, with the club able to offer Champions League football to the striker who has scored 20 Champions League goals across City's past five European campaigns (38 games).

 

TOP STORY – SPURS SWOOP IN WITH OFFER OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FOOTBALL

There is no doubt about Jesus' ability to perform at the highest level, scoring at least seven goals in each of his Premier League seasons since arriving as a 19-year-old. He has also added more creativity to his game, with 21 Premier League assists in his past three campaigns compared to 10 from his first three with City.

The Mirror reports another aspect of his game that Spurs boss Antonio Conte values is his willingness to play out wide on a wing, which means he could still complement star Harry Kane if their formation only calls for one striker.

It is not mentioned whether Tottenham are willing to meet City's asking price, but a second serious bidder will mean Arsenal's desire to land him for a much smaller figure is likely no longer possible.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea will loan striker Romelu Lukaku back to Inter for a fee of at least £8.5m, according to the Daily Mail.

– The Athletic is reporting that Raheem Sterling has been asking friends about life in west London after Fabrizio Romano revealed Chelsea had a £21.5m bid turned down for the City winger.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester United are preparing another bid for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, but if Barcelona will not bring their asking price down, the Old Trafford club are prepared to pivot to Wolves' Ruben Neves.

– According to Sport, Bayern Munich are demanding €50m from Barcelona for Robert Lewandowski, while the Spanish club are currently offering €40m plus performance bonuses.

Newcastle United have been told by Bayer Leverkusen that 22-year-old French winger Moussa Diaby will cost €50m, according to The Sun.

Alessandro Del Piero believes the imminent returns of Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba to Serie A will be a "great move" for Italian football.

Juventus are poised to re-sign Pogba following his departure from Manchester United, while Inter are pushing to bring Lukaku back from Chelsea following a disappointing year in the Premier League.

Both players will represent marquee additions for the two Serie A title hopefuls as they seek to knock Milan off their perch next season, while also boosting them in the hunt for glory in the Champions League.

Juventus legend Del Piero believes the deals have further significance, however, as he feels they can help to push Italian football to compete with the other top leagues in Europe following a number of years off the pace.

"Now the Premier League is the best football you can see in terms of number of teams that can perform at a high level and what happened in the Champions League, in the Europa League how they performed is the answer," he told ESPN.

“It's a different kind of sport in some moments. It seems in the Premier League you run more, you have more physicality, you are more spectacular. 

"It's not exactly like this because in Italy we have this kind of thing but Italy is struggling now: the national team and also in the club teams.  

"So last season showed a little bit more. Roma's win [in the Europa Conference League] is a good hope for the future in the Europa competitions. 

"So Lukaku for Inter and Pogba for Juve could be a great move also for Italian football to become again stronger and have a voice in the Champions League especially."

Since Inter won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho in 2009-10, Juventus are the only Italian side to have reached the final – losing to Barcelona in 2014-15 and then to Real Madrid two years later.

Francesco Totti is surprised that Romelu Lukaku could return to Inter but thinks he "wanted to go back to where he was good."

Having only left Inter to join Chelsea in a reported £97.5million deal last August, Lukaku is reportedly keen to move back to the club where he won the Serie A title last year.

Inter's managing director Alessandro Antonello said earlier this week that the forward holds a "great desire" to return after scoring just eight Premier League goals during an underwhelming 2021-22 season at Stamford Bridge.

While Italy great Totti expected Lukaku to move elsewhere, he says the potential return of a man who scored 30 goals in his final season with Inter would be a huge boost for the Nerazzurri.

"I wouldn't have expected it," Totti told Sky Sports Italia. "I thought he was going to another club, but he wanted to go back to where he was good, he won [Serie A] and he wants to keep winning. 

"In Italy he moves a lot, on a physical level it's embarrassing!"

With Inter also reportedly targeting former Juventus man Paulo Dybala and hoping to keep hold of Lautaro Martinez, Totti said that level of depth would strike fear into their opponents.

"No one knows with which tandem they will play, Simone Inzaghi will be happy." the Roma legend said.

Totti welcomed the arrival of Nemanja Matic at Roma as Jose Mourinho strives to build on their Europa Conference League triumph.

"If Mourinho made this choice it means that he is flexible for the team. We are talking about a great player who has shown his worth in Europe," he said.

"To come to Rome you need the right mentality and he has always shown that he has it."

Lille's Zeki Celik and Sassuolo's Davide Frattesi i have also been linked with the Eternal City giants and Totti says the Giallorossi need more strength in depth in order to push for a Champions League spot. 

"To obtain results you always need great players. If these names are available to Mourinho, it will be a more competitive Roma, who wants to aim above all for a place in the Champions League," he added.

"Then he will have to buy other players to get what we have won in the past. As I've always said, you need champions to win."

Romelu Lukaku has always felt he was still an Inter player despite his exit last year to join Chelsea, Gigi Di Biagio believes.

The Belgium international left the Serie A side to return to the Premier League to join Thomas Tuchel's side but has endured difficulties in west London, expressing his frustrations during a mid-season interview.

Lukaku is expected to be on the move once ahead of the 2022-23 season, with Inter pushing to re-sign the striker from Chelsea – with reports indicating discussions regarding a loan deal are underway.

According to Di Biagio, Lukaku never quite left the San Siro spiritually and it was clear he regretted his exit as he remained an Inter player "in his heart".

"It's really quite romantic that we all got the feeling from the first day that Lukaku wanted to return to Inter straight away," the former midfielder told Sky Sport Italia.

"You could tell from the way he spoke, the look on his face, he still felt in his heart that he was still an Inter player. Then there was that interview he gave too."

Lukaku scored 15 goals in 44 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, half of the tally he netted in the 2020-21 season to help propel Inter to the Serie A title.

During the 29-year-old's previous two-year spell with Inter, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.

Di Biagio believes Lukaku can achieve similar success if the striker returns to Inter.

"Lukaku can still make the difference in Serie A, for his motivation, his desire to wear the jersey, he wants to give something more," he added.

"He felt like he was the king at Inter, whereas something at Chelsea just wasn't working."

Inter are expected to significantly rejuvenate their attacking ranks as they seek to knock San Siro rivals Milan off top-spot next season, with Paulo Dybala also reportedly arriving on a free transfer from Juventus.

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly assessing his options for next season as he does not feel he fits in the aggressive press-from-the-front system expected to be implemented by incoming manager Erik ten Hag.

The 37-year-old showed he is still more than capable of contributing at the highest level in 2021-22, scoring 18 goals in 30 Premier League appearances and six in seven in the Champions League.

With one year remaining on his contract, the Portugal icon would demand a fee, but there are reportedly some familiar faces interested in acquiring his services.

TOP STORY – RONALDO SHUNS TEN HAG, WANTS OUT OF OLD TRAFFORD

Jose Mourinho is said to be enquiring about the possibility of bringing Ronaldo to Roma, with the Italian club hoping the legendary coach can move the needle and convince him to return to Serie A, according to La Repubblica.

Mourinho will reportedly have to compete with the nostalgia factor as Sporting CP have also thrown their hat in the ring, with the thought Ronaldo may want to finish his career where it began at the Primeira Liga club he called home before he was first picked up by United in 2003.

If the five-time Ballon d'Or winner truly decides his time with United is up, as the report from the Italian outlet claims, there will undoubtedly be a bevy of suitors willing to bring in one of the game's most marketable superstars.

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are said to be "cautiously optimistic" of signing Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, although Sky Sports is reporting the club are hoping to pay closer to £30million, rather than the £50m asking price.

– According to The Athletic, Arsenal are also targeting Leeds United winger Raphinha and Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.

– ESPN is reporting Chelsea are investigating whether it is possible to replace Romelu Lukaku with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski

United are expecting Barcelona to lower their asking price for Frenkie de Jong due to their financial problems, according to the Guardian.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Everton view Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis as a potential replacement for Richarlison if he leaves during this transfer window.

Inter cannot rely on building an attack with Romelu Lukaku, Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez as that would expose Simone Inzaghi's side in defence.

That is the message from Milan legend Arrigo Sacchi, who compared the strategy to the plans of Real Madrid in the early 2000s when they assembled a team of attacking superstars.

The Los Blancos star-studded line-up included the likes of David Beckham, Ronaldo Nazario, Raul, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane, but they went six straight seasons without winning a Champions League knockout tie between 2004 and 2010.

Inter are looking to knock fierce rivals Milan off the Serie A summit, with Inzaghi attempting to bring Lukaku back on loan from Chelsea, while Dybala seems set to join the Nerazzurri on a free transfer.

Lukaku fired Inter to Scudetto glory in 2020-21 and across his two-year spell, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.

Martinez was comfortably Inter's top Serie A scorer in the 2021-22 campaign, with his 21 goals eight ahead of nearest challenger Edin Dzeko, while Dybala scored the most league goals for Juventus (10).

Combining the trio may lead to additional firepower for Inzaghi, but Sacchi insists Inter must focus on balance as opposed to attacking riches.

"You don't make teams with statues," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I was at Real Madrid as director of football [in 2004-05] and they asked me to coach. Do you know what the attack was?

"Beckham, Raul, Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo. On the bench, we had [Fernando] Morientes and [Michael] Owen. It wasn't a team, it was a film but it lacked the plot.

"So I thanked the president but said no. To protect the defence we would have needed two defensive players with bullet-proof vests. Teams always need balance."

Sacchi also believes Lukaku, Martinez and Dybala would be unwilling to do the defensive work to help those behind them.

"You need a full team who are always active – in attack and in defence. You need to move, take part in the action, play together," he added.

"Then you can consider winning the ball back quickly when the opposition has it. If you give up three players to the opposition, it means there are only eight in defence rather than 11.

"The willingness and physical characteristics of the player are fundamental. I don't believe, but I could be wrong, that Lukaku, Martinez and Dybala have these qualities."

Romelu Lukaku has a "great desire" to return to Inter, according to the Nerazzurri's managing director Alessandro Antonello.

Having helped Inter win their first Serie A title in over a decade in the 2020-21 season, Lukaku returned to Chelsea for a club record fee of £97.5million last August.

But the Belgium striker has struggled in his first campaign back in England, scoring just eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances after falling out of favour under Thomas Tuchel.

Lukaku's stock remains high in Italy after he scored 30 goals in all competitions in his final campaign with the Nerazzurri and the 29-year-old has been strongly linked with a San Siro return.

Antonello confirmed the club are interested in bringing the striker back to the club, and the former Manchester United frontman wants to make the move.

But Antonello said the finances had to be right for any transfer to take place amid talk that Lukaku could make a loan switch.

"There is a great desire on the part of the player to return," he said. "But the economic-financial feasibility and the resolution of some technical problems must be analysed.

"We should talk about this with [Inter chief executive Giuseppe] Marotta. [Could he join] by June 30th? We will try to do it in the right time.

"At this moment it is essential to combine two words: competitiveness on the field but also economic and financial sustainability. 

"This is the work we are doing. All the choices that the club will make on the transfer market will always be inspired by these two words.

"UEFA is fixing financial fair play, with the new rules taking effect from 2024-25. Everything can be done, taking financial sustainability into consideration."

Despite winning the Premier League title this past season, Manchester City are not wasting time when it comes to improving their squad.

With the signings of Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland already confirmed, the next order of business for the blue half of Manchester is bolstering the midfield.

While City have reportedly long identified who fits their criteria, now they may be able to advance with negotiations.


TOP STORY – MAN CITY TO MOVE FOR PHILLIPS

Having already closed on other positional needs, Manchester City are preparing to table an offer for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to the Athletic.

Reports suggest a bid will soon be on the way, following the completion of the 26-year-old's international commitments with England.

Phillips has been a target of City for some time, but with Rodri in need of competition, the incentive to sign him has increased after Fernandinho's unexpected departure from the Etihad Stadium.

City are said to believe a figure between £45million and £50m will be sufficient for Leeds to part with Phillips.

ROUND-UP

– Juventus expect Paul Pogba to sign a contract with them at the beginning of July after reaching a verbal agreement, according to the Guardian.

Chelsea have begun talks with Inter over a loan return for striker Romelu Lukaku, but the 29-year-old will need to take a wage cut, the Telegraph reports.

– Manchester United are favourites to sign Porto midfielder Vitinha, says A Bola.

– TottenhamNewcastle and Aston Villa are among the clubs interested in signing former Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale on a free transfer, the Sun reports.

Romelu Lukaku wants to be made to feel important to enjoy his football amid uncertainty around his Chelsea future, according to Belgium manager Roberto Martinez.

Lukaku completed a club-record £97.5million return to Stamford Bridge after winning Serie A with Inter last season, scoring 24 times in Serie A under Antonio Conte's tutelage in that successful campaign.

But the Belgium international has struggled on his Chelsea homecoming, managing 15 goals in all competitions for Thomas Tuchel's side in a season blighted by injury and controversy.

In an interview with Italian television Lukaku spoke of his desire to one day again represent Inter, while speaking about his disappointment with his role within Tuchel's team.

Lukaku subsequently apologised for his comments and assured of his commitment to Chelsea, although doubts still remain over his future.

Reports suggest Tuchel wants to bring Inter's Lautaro Martinez to partner Lukaku to recreate the pairing that fired the Nerazzurri to Scudetto success under Conte.

Alternatively, Chelsea are reportedly also considering a swap deal to send Lukaku back to Inter in exchange for Martinez and Alessandro Bastoni.

Martinez, who worked with Lukaku at Everton and now in international football, believes the 29-year-old simply needs to feel valued to thrive wherever he plays.

"He wants to be important and enjoy his football," Martinez told reporters. "I'm sure the decision in the summer will be the right one.

"In Belgium we are quite relaxed with Romelu's situation. I know it is a big topic, but at the moment he is trying to recover from the injury and that's the only thing he has in his mind.

"If he stays at Chelsea it will be for the right reasons. If he's moving away it will be because everyone agrees to it.

"Romelu is a player I know very well. I managed him at club level at a very young age.

"He was 19 and had a very different position than he has now. Now he's a player who is very mature and very clear what he wants."

Chelsea's technical and performance advisor Petr Cech believes the club did an "amazing job" at navigating the change of ownership last season.

The London club were thrown into uncertain waters when previous owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the United Kingdom government in relation to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital eventually won the battle to take charge of the club in late May, with Chelsea working under a special licence from the government to operate until then.

Despite the ongoing distractions, Thomas Tuchel led Chelsea to third place in the Premier League and to the EFL and FA Cup finals, where they lost on penalties to Liverpool on both occasions.

Speaking to Stats Perform at a media day ahead of his participation in Sunday's Soccer Aid charity match, former Chelsea goalkeeper Cech said: "Of course, [the ownership situation] is something you are not prepared for but you need to find your way to go through it.

"I think everybody at the football club did an amazing job to be competitive and achieving what we achieved last season.

"So, now we know where we are and obviously, we're preparing for the next season and we hope to be as strong as we can."

Cech also had words of encouragement for Blues fans about next season, with the new owners reportedly willing to provide Tuchel with money to spend on improving the squad.

"We plan to prepare and we will see where what we can do over the summer, but obviously we have our plans for what we want to do and hopefully we'll be successful."

Another area of uncertainty at Stamford Bridge is the future of striker Romelu Lukaku, who is being linked with a move back to Inter after a disappointing campaign.

Lukaku signed for Chelsea from Inter last year for a reported fee of £97.5million (€113.58m), but only managed 15 goals in 44 appearances (29 starts).

"I think he started very strongly and unfortunately had a long-term injury and then COVID, which obviously stopped the momentum for him," Cech said about the Belgium striker. 

"When you go through a long-term injury and then COVID, it takes some time before you go back. So you could see how strong he was at the end of the season when he was back fit.

"I think if he remains with this whole pre-season, then I believe he will have a strong season."

Another player who had an underwhelming campaign for Chelsea was Spanish midfielder Saul Niguez, who said goodbye to the club at the end of his loan spell from Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

"He's still a great player and he has a great personality and it's been great to have him, but at the same time, he had quite a difficult start before he adapted to English football and in a team where there's so much competition for places that he didn't play as much as he would like to," Cech said of Saul. 

"But we've been really happy to have him because, as I said, he's a great personality and a great player. 

"We obviously wish him well now wherever his next steps will go. But I think English football and the Premier League is a particular competition.

"Sometimes you need a bit of time to adapt. Some people adapt faster, some slower but as I said, he had a slower start and then the competition for places was tough so he didn't play as much as we'd like, but it still doesn't take away the qualities he has."

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