Chelsea have confirmed that Romelu Lukaku will not be available for selection for Chelsea’sgame against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Blues sealed a £97.5million club-record move for the Belgian striker on Thursday as he returned to Stamford Bridge seven years after departing to Everton.
The 28-year-old has been in pre-season training with his former club Inter Milan for the past few weeks but that’s not enough for him to be included in the matchday squad for Palace.
Chelsea have arranged a behind closed doors friendly against National League outfit Weymouth for Sunday, which football.london understands will be for those players who don’t make the matchday squad the day before.
In Chelsea’s pre-match briefing article posted on the club’s official website this morning, it said of Lukaku : “The sensational return of Romelu Lukaku has come too late for involvement in the opening exchange this weekend, but the statement of ambition is clear.”
That means the head coach will pick from Timo Werner, Kai Havertz or Tammy Abraham to lead the line for the Blues when the Eagles come to SW6 this weekend.
Another player who is unlikely to feature is Hakim Ziyech, who suffered a shoulder injury during the win over Villarreal in midweek, landing awkwardly after an aerial challenge with former Spurs defender Juan Foyth.
Thomas Tuchel still has 42 players on his books at Cobham and they will need minutes in their legs to kepe them fresh if they need to be called upon or make a move away. Chelsea need to sell some players to cut their squad numbers down but are struggling to find buyers in what is a bit of a frozen mid-market for clubs who have been hit by the Covid pandemic.