‘Someone I admire’: Graham Potter hints at Chelsea decision for Romelu Lukaku
The 29-year-old old took a pay cut to leave west London and re-join Inter Milan in the summer on a season-long loan after falling out with Thomas Tuchel.
The Blues are understood to have told Inter that they would allow him to stay for another year, but the Italian giants are increasingly reluctant to pay his wages after an injury-hit season.
Speaking ahead of a match at home to Aston Villa, Potter admitted that he could make use of the £100million former club-record signing.
He said: “Although he is our player, he is on loan and an Inter Milan player. I think it is important he finishes that off. Then we have a decision to make in the summer.
“He is someone I admire a lot, I like a lot but again it is something to think about over the summer.”
Chelsea remain 10th in the Premier League and have to consider the scenario that they won’t qualify for the Champions League and, potentially, not any European competitions.
They also announced losses of £121m, spent a world record sum over the last two transfer windows and remain on UEFA’s watchlist for potential future breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP).
Potter’s side will have to be careful over their finances in the upcoming summer transfer window and he admits, with most of football’s wealth hoarded in the Premier League, that it could mean players are sold to rival clubs.
The Chelsea boss said: “You have to deal with what you have to deal with, make your decisions, do your business like everyone else does and accept that you’ve got to do what’s right for this football club and not worry about anyone else. Just do what you need to do.”
The sheer size of his 32-man squad will mean players are moved on. “Regardless of the ifs, the number of the squad is not optimal regardless of whatever competition we are in,” Potter added.
“I think everybody would suggest that’s correct. I think that’s a normal part of a football club’s business at the end of the season, different things happen and people move on.
“It might be because a player needs more game time or something else.”
One of those who might be sold is Mateo Kovacic ,who has been linked with Manchester City with just 16 months left to run on his current deal. Potter was asked about why talks with the 28-year-old haven’t begun over a new deal.
“The club has conversations with players all the time,” Potter said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s public.
“These things happen behind the scenes and when we’ve got something to report we can. Similar to Mason [Mount], he’s someone I have huge respect for as a person. He’s been great with us. Very supportive.
“He plays a role in the team and has been the captain the last few games as well. From my perspective he’s important.
“But again it’s also been Mateo and the club to talk and when they have something to announce they’ll announce it.”