Romelu Lukaku’s relationship with Chelsea is in tatters despite a long list of injured attackers, proving to be a frustrating opening day for manager Mauricio Pochettino in his tenure at the English club.

Lukaku has not been given a squad number by Chelsea this season and has made clear his desire to leave Stamford Bridge. The Belgian striker joined Chelsea in August 2021 for a then club-record fee of $135 million but spent last season on loan at Inter Milan.

Chelsea are unwilling to consider another loan move and would rather sell Lukaku.

If ever there was a time to reintroduce Lukaku into the senior team, it is now.

On Thursday, winger Mykhailo Mudric joined an injury list that already includes striker Christopher Nkunku and attacking midfielder Carny Chukwuemeka. Another striker Armando Broza is yet to play as he recovers from an ACL injury that kept him out since December.

That leaves Pochettino with only one recognized striker in Nicholas Jackson for the trip to Luton in the off-season on Friday.

So, does this leave the door open for a possible return for Lukaku?

No, according to Pochettino, who did not name Lukaku when answering a series of questions about him on Thursday.

The kind of player you’re asking about is a situation that was clear even before we got here,” said Pochettino, who was hired in May.

There was a desire to try to find a solution between the club and the player (for a new club). At the moment we are relaxed and nothing has happened. We will inform if there is any change.

Pochettino says it is a matter between the club and Lukaku and he is not getting involved.

Unless the club or the players want to talk to me, I am not going to step down. He said, “I am here, I accept the situation that was here when I came.”

Both the club and the player try to find a solution. Future may change things. If something changes, we will adapt to the situation.

Lukaku has been linked with a transfer to Juventus but a section of the club’s fans have objected to the move.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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