Romelu Lukaku has been handed a second chance at Chelsea by Jose Mourinho. The Blues striker had been linked with a summer move away from Stamford Bridge following an impressive loan spell at Everton last season.
But Steve Holland, Chelsea’s assistant first-team coach, insists the Belgian will link up with Mourinho’s squad for their two-week pre-season training camp across Europe next week.
Speaking after the club’s 3-2 pre-season friendly win over AFC Wimbledon, Holland said: “The plan is that he will join up with us at some stage during the second week when we are in Holland.” Asked if he won’t be going anywhere until then, Holland replied: “That’s the situation as I understand it.”
Lukaku, who scored 15 Premier League goals for Everton, is viewed as a replacement for Demba Ba, who joined Besiktas for £4.7million last week.
The 21-year-old dropped a hint over his future when he changed his Twitter biography to say he was a Chelsea player. Previously, there was no mention of the Londoners.
Chelsea travel to Austria, Slovenia, Holland and Germany over the next fortnight and Mourinho has been handed a fitness boost with goalkeeper Petr Cech available for the trip.
Cech missed the pre-season outings at Wycombe and AFC Wimbledon as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder sustained in the Champions’ League semi-final, first leg against Atletico Madrid.
“Petr is making very good progress,” said Holland. “He’s ahead of schedule and will come with us to Austria. He’s well on course.”
Mohamed Salah’s future with Chelsea has been thrown into jeopardy after reports emerged claiming the winger could be forced to return to Egypt for military service for between one and three years.
Salah joined Chelsea in January from Swiss side Basel for a reported £11m. But it is believed the 22-year-old has had his registration for an education programme rescinded by the Minister of Higher Education. Salah’s allowance to travel abroad is granted solely on his taking part in the education programme.
Chelsea’s former midfielder Frank Lampard looks set to complete his move to Manchester City-owned New York City FC this week.