Romelu Lukaku has admitted to being open to potentially playing for a Saudi Pro League team. The striker’s comments come nearly a year after he rejected a chance to join Al-Hilal in the Middle Eastern league. Instead of making the big money move, the Chelsea star spent the 2023/24 season on loan at Roma.

Although the Italian side ultimately finished sixth in the Serie A standings, Lukaku had another solid season. The Belgium international netted 21 goals in 47 total appearances with Roma. Despite the relatively successful campaign, the forward is now once again technically a Chelsea player. Nevertheless, the Blues desperately want to offload Lukaku during the summer transfer window.

Move to Middle East would allow striker to keep earning huge wages

During an interview with Het Laatse Nieuws, Lukaku discussed why he would now possibly change his mind regarding a move to the Middle East. “Saudi Arabia would not stop me,” proclaimed the striker. “The level there will only rise, to a much higher level than many people think. More and more footballers will tend to play there.”

“Also because of how the fans there experience football. The infrastructure still needs to improve, but all the big top European clubs know: ‘Saudi Arabia is coming.’ You already see that in boxing, golf, Formula 1.”

Lukaku just recently turned 31 and rakes in around $415,000 per week in his current contract at Chelsea. The Blues have, however, had help paying for this massive deal thanks to loaning Lukaku in recent seasons. Before spending the most recent campaign with Roma, the center forward was also temporarily at Inter Milan. Nevertheless, Chelsea reportedly only wants to sell the player now, rather than issuing yet another loan deal.

To earn anywhere near his current contract, Lukaku may have to sign with a Saudi side. European sides will unlikely be willing to shell out a similar salary at this point of his career. The striker must ultimately decide this summer if he wants a big payday in the Middle East or take less money to remain with a top European team.

Lukaku also hints at Napoli transfer by naming Conte his favorite coach

If Lukaku does opt to transfer within Europe, Napoli would be the most logical destination. The Belgian has found previous success in Italy with two different clubs. Napoli is also supposedly interested in potentially targeting the Chelsea forward as well. The club’s current starting center forward, Victor Osimhen, looks almost certain to depart southern Italy this summer. As a result, Napoli will have a big hole to fill.

The links between Lukaku and Napoli have only intensified after the team appointed Antonio Conte as their new head coach. The two figures previously worked together from 2019 to 2021 at Inter. With the duo in place, the Milan side collected the 2020/21 Serie A title.

In the aforementioned interview, Lukaku also labeled Conte as his favorite coach. Not only did the striker pick out the new Napoli boss, but he did so with a wink. The gesture certainly appears to open the door for a potential reunion between Conte and Lukaku in Italy. Chelsea has supposedly set an asking price of about $47 million for the Belgian striker. This price tag, however, could very well fall should Napoli and a Saudi side balk at the fee.