Former Inter goalkeeper Tommaso Berni has given his views on the potential sale of striker Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea.
Speaking to Italian news outlet L’Interista, the 38-year-old opined that even for a massive fee, the loss of the Belgian would be a significant blow for the Nerazzurri.
Chelsea have stepped up their pursuit of the Belgian in recent days, with the English club not taking no for an answer and returning with an enormous offer after having their first bid rejected by both the Nerazzurri and the player.
The Blues are determined to add a top-class striker to their squad going into next season, and have identified the 28-year-old as the right option to add extra attacking quality to their team after winning the Champions League last season but falling short in the Premier League.
For Berni, their interest in the player is reflective of the fact that he has shown qualities in the past two seasons with Inter which make him unique an irreplaceable.
“Finding another Lukaku in today’s football is impossible, because there isn’t one,” he stated, “for the strength, speed and determination he has he is truly unique.
“I believe that the club already has a Plan B in mind, but the gameplan will have to be adapted because there does not exist a Lukaku 2.”
“He is certainly a fundamental player,” Berni said of Lukaku, “and he has demonstrated this extensively in all matches.
“The club knows they have a champion in the squad and I think that, if a great offer ever comes out, Inter would only sell him after blocking out another player.”
Of the Belgian’s mental qualities, Berni stated, “He has all the important qualities that a champion must have. I believe that the man comes before the player, and he has shown that he is special on several occasions. I can assure you that he has great values and is always the first to help everyone.”
“These are stellar sums we were not used to,” he said about the prospective fee involved in the deal, “but in recent years football has led us to face these realities.
“Given today’s market, for me, Lukaku is also worth more than €130 million, for how he was decisive with Inter and with Belgium.
“The fact remains that in the future, to help everyone, the money invested in transfers should be reduced in general.”
On the possibility of losing Lukaku after already making one major sale in the summer in the form of Achraf Hakimi’s departure for Paris Saint-Germain, Berni was not surprised given the circumstances around the club.
“Unfortunately we all know about the period we are going through and living,” he explained, “A power like Suning has suffered losses as big as anyone right now, but I don’t know the details and I can’t add much.
“But I can say with certainty that they will evaluate everything they do and, if they decide to do it, it is because there is a valid reason behind it. There is no madness, they care a lot about Inter and the staff are smart and capable.”
“The last year I have not been [at Inter] even though I was always present with calls and messages,” Berni continued, “so I don’t know what the motivation that led the coach [Antonio Conte] to leave may have been.
“But he is an intelligent man and will have considered everything before deciding. It would be necessary to understand the extent of the damage that Covid has caused to Suning.”
Finally, Berni talked about what he expected the fan reaction to the deal would be, stating “They will not be happy, that’s for sure.
“If it ever happens, however, it means that there is a Plan B that will please the team and the coach first, and then the fans.”