‘I am staying’: Lukaku pledges future to Inter before Inzaghi signs as manager

Romelu Lukaku has said he will remain at Internazionale next season after helping them to their first Serie A title in 11 years, with the club announcing on Thursday that Simone Inzaghi has signed a two-year contract to replace Antonio Conte as manager.

Chelsea’s manager, Thomas Tuchel, is planning a move to bring the striker back to Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku, who has a contract to 2024, was named Serie A’s most valuable player after getting 24 goals and 11 assists, beating the Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo to the award. Inter are set to sell players as part of cost-cutting efforts to cope with the financial impact of the pandemic but do not want to lose Lukaku.

“Yes, I am staying,” Lukaku, who joined in 2019 from Manchester United, told the broadcaster VTM. “I feel good at Inter.” Inter parted ways with coach Antonio Conte shortly after winning the title and Lukaku said he had been in contact with Conte’s replacement. Inter on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Simone Inzaghi on a two-year contract after his deal at Lazio expired.

“I’ve already had contact with the man who normally becomes our new manager,” said Lukaku, speaking before Inzaghi was confirmed in the job. “Maybe I shouldn’t say that yet … but it was a very positive conversation. There’s also the challenge of doing it again [winning the league].”

Inter officially welcomed Inzaghi with a statement: “FC Internazionale Milano would like to welcome Simone Inzaghi to the Club, as our new first-team coach: the Italian manager has signed a two-year deal with the Nerazzurri.”

Inter strolled to the Scudetto this term, but that was not enough to prevent Conte, who joined Inter in May 2019, agreeing to depart, unhappy with plans to reduce investment and cut costs.

Inzaghi stepped down as Lazio manager after 22 years at the club as a coach and a player last week. He joined as a player in 1999, winning the Serie A title and three Coppa Italias as a striker before hanging up his boots in 2010.

Inzaghi started coaching the club’s youth sector before taking the first-team job in April 2016, guiding Lazio to the Coppa Italia and two Italian Super Cup successes, as well as leading them to the last 16 in their first Champions League campaign in 13 years this season.