Inter President Steven Zhang is reflecting on whether or not to pull the plug on negotiations to sell Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea.
This according to online edition of Italian news outlet Gazzetta Dello Sport, who report that the Nerazzurri President is carefully thinking about all of the ramifications of a deal should Inter accept the Blues’ bid for the Belgian.
The main concerns cited are worries about the reaction of the fans given how badly the Inter fans have reacted since the news broke.
The prospective sale of Lukaku has looked increasingly likely over the past few days, with the Nerazzurri ready to accept a bid from Chelsea who have pushed hard for the striker.
However, the move has generated significant controversy which is giving Zhang second thoughts, the report continues.
Zhang, is reportedly, specifically worried about whether the sale of Lukaku could hurt the prestige and reputation of the club, as well as anger fans causing the club to lose income as fewer are willing to support the team financially without one of its key starters.
In an average home match at the Giuseppe Meazza before the pandemic, 66,000 fans attended the San Siro, making up for a major revenue source.
The expectation is that virtually all supporters would be angered by Lukaku’s sale and that if the move is poorly-received it could lead to fewer fans willing to come and watch the team.
Meanwhile, Zhang must also consider the player’s own will, with the 28-year-old thought to be happy at Inter and not in any way opposed to staying, but also willing to accept a move to Chelsea should a deal be agreed.
The Belgian has never pushed for a move and will have no issues remaining with the Nerazzurri should a deal be called off.
However, it is thought that he is also enticed by the European champions’ sporting project, and would increase a significant wage increase to €12 net per season plus €3 million in add-ons.
In any event, Zhang is considering whether the sale of Lukaku would be the best way for the club to meet financial targets, with the club having set figures of €80 million in transfer market net spend and a reduction of the wage budget by 15-20% as the objective.
However, these targets set need to be reached by the end of the fiscal year rather than by the end of the summer, the Gazzetta reports.
This means, the deadline for these goals is by the end of June 2022 as opposed to the end of August 31st 2021.
Marotta and Ausilio are of the opinion, the report continues, that they can reach these financial goals in the next two transfer windows, after a large portion of the financial goals needed, was covered by Achraf Hakimi’s sale to Paris Saint-Germain,
Zhang will be aware that he could well choose to keep Lukaku and that the club would still be able to cover the needed income with player sales not only this summer but also during the January transfer window and before June next spring and summer.
For now, the situation is up in the air and should all parties agree to a deal it is thought that the player could be on his way.
However, President Zhang is well aware of the significant ramifications such a deal would carry, and is seriously contemplating whether or not to accept an offer from Chelsea.