Newcastle United could turn their attention towards a move for Belgian hotshot Romelu Lukaku in 2023, according to reports from Italy.
As per Calciomercatoweb, Magpies sporting director Dan Ashworth is keen on signing the 29-year-old next summer should the Tyneside club qualify for the Champions League, with the 6 foot 3 ace currently on loan at Serie A side Inter Milan from Chelsea.
The report suggests that, while the Nerazzurri could look to keep the striker on loan for a further year, the west Londoners’ preference to sell may give Newcastle the advantage, with Ashworth ready to ‘forcefully enter’ for the centre-forward’s signature.
There is no getting away from what has been a miserable last 18 months or so for Lukaku – both for club and country – with the former Everton man having scored only twice in all competitions this term following a number of fitness and injury issues.
Prior to that, the £180k-per-week marksman had netted just eight goals in the Premier League following his return to Stamford Bridge, with that limp output ensuring that the Blues made the bold decision to loan him out during the summer.
Equally, at international level the typically prolific marksman came up short at the World Cup in Qatar, notably missing four big chances off the bench in the final group stage clash against Croatia as the Red Devils crashed out at the first hurdle.
Alas, while the last year or so has been notably disappointing for the Antwerp native, Lukaku remains a hugely impressive attacking asset regardless, boasting a remarkable club career tally of 268 goals at senior level.
Despite his recent difficulties at Chelsea, the ruthless Lukaku has previously been a real force in English football, having scored 121 goals in 278 Premier League games in total.
The former Toffees ace particularly caught the eye as a result of his form at Goodison Park – scoring 87 goals in 166 games – while even his brief stint at Manchester United proved somewhat fruitful, with 42 goals to his name in 96 appearances.
The one-time West Bromwich Albion star had been especially prolific during his previous stint at Inter, with his total tally for the Nerazzurri now standing at 66 goals and 17 assists in just 100 games.
A striker who can be “unplayable” when in full flow – as lauded by Arsenal legend Sol Campbell – Lukaku would provide a real focal point to Eddie Howe’s attack if he were to arrive at St James’ Park, while also offering an almost guaranteed supply of goals such is his remarkable career record.
With the Belgian seemingly in need of a boost in confidence, joining such an ambitious and high-flying outfit as Newcastle could well prove to be the perfect solution.