Former Premier League duo Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole think Romelu Lukaku’s imminent arrival could benefit German pair Kai Havertz and Timo Werner ahead of the upcoming season – if not putting pressure on them in the process.
Lukaku, 28, is set to sign a five-year contract in west London ahead of an official announcement.
Serie A’s MVP winner’s arrival has raised questions as to what the future of Werner and Havertz consists of in Thomas Tuchel’s first-team – especially the former who struggled in front of goal in the last campaign.
But TV pundits Cole and Ferdinand believe that the striker’s signing will benefit the two Chelsea forwards in different ways.
First off, the ex-Chelsea midfielder believes that the former Bayer Leverkusen player will relish the chance of playing up front with his soon-to-be teammate.
Cole explained on BT Sport ahead of the Super Cup clash with Villarreal: “I think he’ll enjoy playing with Romelu. I think he’ll play in that deep position, that 10 (role).
“When you watch him play, Kai, he got better and better as the season went on. He was outstanding in the semi-final and the final of the Champions League.
“He’s almost like he’s merged into two types of number 10 – he’s a ball player, he’s got lovely balance, he can go off both feet, but he’s also got an eye for goal, he can arrive in the box and he’s a big, physical boy.
“Here, we see him, ghosting in, he always seems to find space. He’s going to love playing with Romelu because it’ll open up space. I think he’s an outstanding player, and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
The former of the two, Werner, is the player who will feel more under pressure after seeing the £98m striker return to Stamford Bridge this summer, according to Ferdinand.
He said: “Listen, Romelu Lukaku coming in does definitely put pressure on other people. Timo Werner is definitely the first person who comes to mind, but he grew into it last season.
“Look, if Lukaku gets the chances he missed last season, then Lukaku gets 30-plus goals this season because he’s a predator, but Werner stretches teams, he runs in behind and that will suit Lukaku.
“He drags centre-backs into wide areas and that will free up space for someone like Lukaku who will then get chances from these situations.”
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As the ex-Manchester United defender stated, the 25-year-old’s different attributes could help with assisting and getting the best out of Lukaku season.
Werner himself has already expressed his excitement at potentially playing in a front three which would include Lukaku at the summit of the attack.
“He’s probably one of the best three strikers in the world at the moment,” Werner told Sky Sports.
“There is no question about that, I don’t think we need to say too much about him. He’s a world-class striker who would benefit any team.
“I certainly think at Leipzig that it always helped me having a big striker alongside me.
“I think that’s always good because I’m not the biggest and when you play upfront on your own, you always have the attention of one or two defenders.
“It’s a good new weapon to have in our game when you know that if you play a long ball, he will hold it up.
“And then the fast players around him can set off – I think that’s good for any team.”