Potential replacements for Romelu Lukaku at Inter

Tom Gott
Romelu Lukaku could be leaving Inter
Romelu Lukaku could be leaving Inter / Marco Canoniero/Getty Images

Having already lost manager Antonio Conte and star right-back Achraf Hakimi, Inter look set to lose another big part of their title triumph as Romelu Lukaku closes in on a return to Chelsea.

The 28-year-old has asked to be granted a return to Chelsea this summer, with the Blues tipped to shell out the best part of £110m to bring the Belgian back to the club.

Losing a striker who scored 24 goals en route to winning the title last season is an obvious blow for Inter, but on the flip side, they're about to bring in a massive war chest which could be reinvested in some of the game's most exciting forwards.

Here are eight candidates to replace Lukaku at Inter.

1. Duvan Zapata

Duvan Zapata
Zapata is one of Inter's top targets / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Inter could lose a big, powerful striker with a prolific record in Serie A, but they could easily replace him with another one in Atalanta's Duvan Zapata.

The Colombian bagged 19 goals and 14 assists in all competitions but is expected to be available for around the £40m mark this summer, meaning Inter could land him with less than half of the Lukaku money.

Age works against Zapata, who will turn 31 this season, but he still represents an excellent short-term option.

2. Dusan Vlahovic

Dusan Vlahovic
Vlahovic is wanted by some big teams / Nicolò Campo/Getty Images

One of the breakout stars of Italian football last season, Fiorentina hitman Dusan Vlahovic has the world at his feet.

The 21-year-old has been one of 2021's most-prolific marksmen, with all but three of his 21 Serie A goals coming in the last five months of the season, and he continued that form by bagging seven goals in one half of action in Fiorentina's pre-season this summer.

Some of the world's biggest clubs are circling around Vlahovic, but this could be Inter's time to push to the front of the queue.

3. Joaquin Correa

Joaquin Correa
Correa is an intriguing option / Marco Rosi - SS Lazio/Getty Images

Joaquin Correa may not have the same track record as Lukaku, but it would be interesting to see what he can do as the main man in a strike force, instead of being Ciro Immobile's glamorous assistant.

Correa has been a steady stream of goals ever since moving to Italy in 2018 and is coming off the back of the best year of his career, which yielded 11 goals and six assists in all competitions.

He's a similar player to Lautaro Martinez, with whom he could combine to wreak havoc in Italy.

4. Alexander Isak

Alexander Isak
Isak comes with an expensive release clause / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

21-year-old Alexander Isak was a fan-favourite before he went to the Euros, but thanks to his antics with Sweden, he is now being recognised worldwide as one of the best young forwards on the planet.

A natural goalscorer with a towering frame, Isak comes with a release clause which sits at around £60m. That's a lot of money, but when you're bringing in over £100m by selling Lukaku, it suddenly doesn't seem too bad.

Isak netted 17 goals for Real Sociedad last season and it seems a safe bet that he will manage more than that in 2021/22.

5. Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham
Chelsea have chosen Lukaku over Abraham / Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Inter struck gold by signing a Chelsea reject in 2019, so why not repeat the trick this year and bring in Tammy Abraham?

Still only 23, Abraham has been far better than his status as Chelsea outcast might suggest. He has a fantastic goal record for someone his age but is seen as too much of a work-in-progress for the impatient Blues.

One team is going to take advantage of that this summer, and Inter could do a lot worse than being the lucky winners of the race for his signature.

6. Giacomo Raspadori

Giacomo Raspadori
Raspadori is seen as a future star / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

If you want a risk, they don't come more intriguing than Sassuolo youngster Giacomo Raspadori.

The 21-year-old really found form towards the end of last season, so much so that he earned himself one of the last spots in Roberto Mancini's Italy squad.

His potential is clear to see, but if Inter choose to sign him, they may well want to find someone else to help share the workload for the time being.

7. Odsonne Edouard

Odsonne Edouard
Edouard is keen on a big move / Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Eternally disrespected because of the world's perception of the Scottish league, Odsonne Edouard is a straight-up goalscorer.

Edouard is one of several players looking to leave Celtic this summer in an attempt to take the next step in his career, and Inter should be all over him. He'll be affordable and can either shine for the next decade or be sold on for an easy profit somewhere down the line.

His body language in pre-season has made it abundantly clear that he wants out, so Inter would not have to work too hard to lure him over.

8. Terem Moffi

Terem Moffi
Moffi made a real impact / SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/Getty Images

Over in France, Terem Moffi has been giving off Lukaku vibes ever since he joined the club in October 2020.

A powerful, deceptively agile striker, Moffi bagged 16 goals for a poor Lorient side last season, scoring goals of all kinds and showcasing some exciting potential.

He's destined to attract glances from the biggest clubs in the near future, but Inter could get a jump on the rest this summer and snap Moffi up for a bargain price.