Chelsea chief Petr Cech has backed striker Romelu Lukaku to bounce back from his tricky debut season at Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku managed 15 goals in 44 games this year, starting just 16 times in the Premier League as a combination of poor form and injuries restricted his involvement, while an ill-timed interview with Italian media left the striker facing an uphill battle to win over supporters.
90min understands that Chelsea are open to letting Lukaku re-join former employers Inter, who have expressed an interest in the Belgian, although manager Thomas Tuchel is happy to keep working with him if no move materialises.
Technical and performance advisor Cech refused to comment on the speculation surrounding Lukaku's future and instead backed the Belgian to get back to his best next season.
"I personally believe he will have a great season," he told Sky Sports News. "Last season, we saw how strong he can be, at the beginning when he came, but unfortunately, the long-term injury he sustained in the game against Villa slowed everything down, and then he had Covid as well.
Listen now to 90min's brand new podcast, Talking Transfers, with Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth. This week Harry Symeou steps in for Scott and the trio discuss the futures of Bukayo Saka, Rafael Leao, Romelu Lukaku, Kalvin Phillips, Youri Tielemans, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Raphinha, Gabriel Jesus and more.
"I think we could see towards the end of the season, when he was fit and ready to go again, how strong he is.
"We had a particular season as a team, around Christmas with the Covid issue, and he was one of those players that was affected.
"I have full confidence that he will bounce back and have a strong season."
New Blues owner Todd Boehly is prepared to give Tuchel a greater say in the club's transfer business, but the boss is not thought to be desperate to cut ties with Lukaku, although he will not stand in the striker's way if he expresses a desire to leave the club.