Barcelona ready to pounce on Romelu Lukaku as Chelsea striker set for summer departure

A triumphant return to west London looks set to be short-lived when it comes to Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku, as the Chelsea frontman appears to be primed for a guaranteed exit from Stamford Bridge this summer.

Chelsea shelled out just shy of £100-million to bring the Antwerp-native back to the Premier League after he never got a real chance at the club before going on to prove himself at West Brom, Everton, and Inter Milan, despite a hot and cold two years with Manchester United.

But for the price that the Blues paid to bank on his goalscoring expertise helping the club push for Premier League honors this season, both parties have accepted that a partnership will be short-lived, and La Liga giants Barcelona could turn to Lukaku to solve their own issues at center-forward starting in the summer.

According to reports in Marca (cited by Football365), Lukaku has 'entered the equation' for Barcelona as the Catalan outfit prepare to source a third option for recruitment as their top two summer targets look to be out of reach.

Previously interested in Bundesliga goal machines Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski, Barça suffered a blow in both pursuits as the former is all but guaranteed to wind up at the Etihad this summer to join forces with Pep Guardiola and company, while any deal for Lewandowski that could potentially be struck is viewed as 'complicated' even though the Polish star was tipped as being interested in the destination.

The fact that Lukaku is prepared to depart Chelsea makes his potential acquisition that much easier for Barcelona, though the Belgian star is said to be attracting interest from a few clubs around Europe.

Unfortunately for Chelsea, an exit for Lukaku could pile the pressure on boss Thomas Tuchel who is already set to lose Antonio Rüdiger to Real Madrid, with Andreas Christensen (in line to join Barcelona) another gap to fill for the club. Not only that, but the Blues also may have to fend off interest - again from Madrid - in star right-back and England international Reece James.

The Cobham academy product has been a leading light for Chelsea this season and put in another outstanding performance against Manchester United in midweek. Should James draw the attention of arguably the biggest club on the planet, the loss of Romelu Lukaku in the summer may just be a drop in the bucket.

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