Once we heard news of Chelsea’s first financial bid to try and get a swap deal happen with Romelu Lukaku and Dusan Vlahovic, things were basically thrown into Juventus’ court. Would they cater to one of the Premier League’s richest clubs and accept a low-ball kind of of offer? Or would new Juve sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli stick to his public comments and not budge from his valuation of Vlahovic?
It looks as though Giuntoli has chosen the wiser Door No. 2.
According to pretty much every big sports news outlet in Italy on Wednesday night, Chelsea have decided to pull the plug on negotiations with Juventus to try and make a Vlahovic-Lukaku (and cash) deal happen. It is mainly because of the cash that one club is currently offering and the other one wants, with Chelsea unwilling to meet Juve’s demands to make something happen and see Lukaku cross over the line from former Inter star to new signing by Giuntoli in Turin. Said demand, according to reports, was a price tag of €40 million plus Lukaku to get things done. Things, as you can imagine, are nowhere near that.
Lukaku, according to previous reports, had agreed to terms on a three-year deal at Juventus that would have made him one of the highest earners at the club.
As things currently stand, @ChelseaFC are not intentioned to agree a swap deal with @juventusfc between #Vlahovic and #Lukaku. The gap between the fee asked by #Juventus and the one offered by #CFC is too high, at the moment. @SkySport @SkySportsPL— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) August 9, 2023
Could this be the end of the drama between Juventus and Lukaku? It certainly isn’t the end of the drama between Chelsea and Lukaku, who is a player who the London-based club clearly want absolutely no part of and are desperate to get off their books. Before Wednesday’s news, Chelsea essentially had two outs to try and get Lukaku off their books once and for all — Juventus and Saudi Arabia, the latter being one that the player has consistently rejected because he still wants to play in Europe this season.
But if there’s currently nobody in Europe who is willing to take Lukaku, who knows what’s next.
From a Juventus point of view, though, this is very much Giuntoli sticking to his guns and not budging from his demands for Vlahovic. As we heard just a few days ago, new Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino had doubts about Vlahovic because of how he might fit into his team. And that was even before Christopher Nkunku got hurt in the final game of Chelsea’s U.S. tour last week. Even with Nkunku’s injury, it looks like that position hasn’t changed — which means things appear to be rather unlikely to happen now between Juventus and Chelsea.
Juventus manager Max Allegri said the following about Juventus after the club’s in-house friendly at Allianz Stadium on Wednesday evening:
“Dusan is working well, he had some moments of physical difficulty, but has recovered. I am happy with the squad at my disposal, there is an important set of strikers.
“As I already said, and as Giuntoli said too, Vlahovic is the center forward of Juventus, but if faced with important economic offers, the club will evaluate. Our objective must be to become a financially sustainable club.
“I am not getting involved, I just make technical evaluations and I am very happy with Vlahovic.”
That is pretty much the same messaging that we’ve heard from the very beginning of the Giuntoli hire — they are happy with Vlahovic but, because of the club’s current economic situation, they will have to evaluate each and every offer that comes in for him before making a final decision on whether he stays or goes.
And as you can see, the money that Chelsea were offering to try and spin Lukaku onto Juventus’ payroll and get him away from Stamford Bridge was clearly not good enough to make Giuntoli even consider parting ways with one of his biggest assets.