Romelu Lukaku has always felt he was still an Inter player despite his exit last year to join Chelsea, Gigi Di Biagio believes.
The Belgium international left the Serie A side to return to the Premier League to join Thomas Tuchel's side but has endured difficulties in west London, expressing his frustrations during a mid-season interview.
Lukaku is expected to be on the move once ahead of the 2022-23 season, with Inter pushing to re-sign the striker from Chelsea – with reports indicating discussions regarding a loan deal are underway.
According to Di Biagio, Lukaku never quite left the San Siro spiritually and it was clear he regretted his exit as he remained an Inter player "in his heart".
"It's really quite romantic that we all got the feeling from the first day that Lukaku wanted to return to Inter straight away," the former midfielder told Sky Sport Italia.
"You could tell from the way he spoke, the look on his face, he still felt in his heart that he was still an Inter player. Then there was that interview he gave too."
Lukaku scored 15 goals in 44 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, half of the tally he netted in the 2020-21 season to help propel Inter to the Serie A title.
During the 29-year-old's previous two-year spell with Inter, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17), or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.
Di Biagio believes Lukaku can achieve similar success if the striker returns to Inter.
"Lukaku can still make the difference in Serie A, for his motivation, his desire to wear the jersey, he wants to give something more," he added.
"He felt like he was the king at Inter, whereas something at Chelsea just wasn't working."
Inter are expected to significantly rejuvenate their attacking ranks as they seek to knock San Siro rivals Milan off the top spot next season, with Paulo Dybala also reportedly arriving on a free transfer from Juventus.