Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has backed Romelu Lukaku to bounce back from his nightmare spell at Chelsea, and insisted the Belgian is still one of the best strikers in the world.
Chelsea paid £97.5m to re-sign Lukaku last summer after watching him lead Conte's Inter to Serie A glory with a return of 24 goals and ten assists in 36 games, but he is back with the Nerazzurri on loan after failing to make a similar impact.
Lukaku angered fans with an unauthorised interview early in the 2021/22 season in which he admitted he wanted to play for Inter again in the future and voiced a frustration towards the tactics of manager Thomas Tuchel, who would start the Belgian in just 16 Premier League games across the year.
Despite all the turmoil, Conte insisted Chelsea made no mistake in bringing Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge last summer and is confident he remains an elite level player.
“We are talking about a big amount of money for a player and I think we are talking about a really important striker in the world," the Spurs boss said.
“But sometimes a situation outside of football happens and I think Romelu lived two years in Milan and he was the king. The fans showed him a lot of passion and I think he’s a guy who needs this. And for this reason, I think he wanted to go back to Milan.
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“But, for sure, the signing was a good signing for Chelsea. Then, you know very well there are players that need more time to make an impact. But, for sure, he was a good signing for Chelsea.
“He has the potential to play in the Premier League. I remember very well when he started to play last season, he played really well and you in the media said Lukaku is really strong.
“A lot of things can happen for the confidence to drop. Now it's right for him to play for an important club in Italy to try to get again confidence in himself. But we are talking about a really important, a really good striker.”