When I think of complete centre-forwards that have shone for Chelsea in recent years, two players spring to mind: Didier Drogba and Diego Costa.
It’s easy to see several similarities between both of them and Romelu Lukaku. It’s also very obvious after last season why Thomas Tuchel wants a player like this. The Lukaku Chelsea sold seven years ago in 2014 is not the same player they have re-signed.
Lukaku is back as a complete forward. He is ready to take on the strain of being required to score goals and will thrive off the pressure around it.
Thomas Tuchel did an interview leading up to the Super Cup against Villarreal. He spoke about the profile of striker he wanted to be signed. It fits the qualities Lukaku has.
Tuchel said: “A type of profile that loves to play with his back towards the opponents’ goal. Who likes to hold up balls, who creates a chance to breathe. For Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Christian Pulisic who love to play around him. This is the kind of profile we don’t have in our squad right now and what we are looking for.”
The qualities and confidence Lukaku has to score goals and take it on the chin if things aren’t going well will be a huge help to the team going forward. And the fact he’s spent seven years in England means he will settle in very fast.
Looking back at our three recent Premier League titles, they consisted of Drogba getting 28 league goals in the 2009/10 season and Costa getting 20 league goals in both of the 2014/15, 2016/17 campaigns.
Lukaku scored 23 Serie A goals in his first season at Inter Milan. He then bettered it last season with 24 league goals. His goals and all-round game helped Inter win the title and Chelsea will be hoping he’s that same decisive player, a player that can take the game by the scruff of the neck when times are hard. Lukaku showed last season he’s extremely comfortable having the pressure of leading the line and ticks all the boxes.
Chelsea finished 19 points off Premier League winners Manchester City last season and only won half of their top-flight matches. One of the biggest problems Chelsea had last season was unlocking teams that set up to defend and play a low block.
But now if teams are deployed with a low block, the Blues have the right striker to play the ball to and cause huge problems. Opponents will have a new challenge to face if they set up in such a way.
Timo Werner plays his best football playing off the frontman or coming in off the left. I think it’s safe to say he found it very hard to be the link-up man and play with his back to goal. This type of role fits Lukaku to a tee. The fact at times he will be making defenders think about doubling up when marking him out of the game will be a huge help to others in the team.
The link-up he will have with others around him will be a huge positive. It will take a huge weight off players’ shoulders. I can see for example Werner, Havertz, and Pulisic having a great time playing in the team just because of Lukaku. All have the ability to play in behind, so if he comes short to feet, it will leave space to exploit.
Lukaku is currently one of the best forwards in the world. To be in with a chance of winning the Premier League and challenging Liverpool and Man City come the end of the season, Chelsea should be looking at numbers of around 20 league goals.
This club has to be challenging for trophies; the signing of Lukaku will hopefully have the same effect Drogba and Costa had here.
He has the same qualities that made them special. He is a team player, strong, clinical and reliable. I think all fans will agree Chelsea can’t finish the season off with our top scorer in the league on seven league goals. I have no doubt Lukaku will do that by Christmas with ease if he stays injury-free.
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Lukaku will be a key figure in Chelsea trying to win silverware in the seasons ahead.
He will likely be a huge help in unlocking teams Chelsea struggled with in the past. He will bring something different to the squad but also help out other players that at times might have struggled with the burden of scoring goals consistently.
The professional, hard-working player he is, I have no doubt he will fit right into the squad chemistry we have and score the goals that help the team massively next season