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Chelsea FC: Super Boehly

Macho

Has Trust Issues With Processes
Dusted 🔻

Why Lukaku is likely to stay put at Chelsea – for now at least​


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By Simon Johnson Jun 2, 2022



So here we go again.

To no great surprise, Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is already the subject of a lot of talk in Italy about a move back to Inter Milan and the speculation is bound to only increase over the course of this month.
This was always going to happen.

It has been mooted ever since the Belgium international gave an unauthorised interview to Sky Italia, which was broadcast at the beginning of this year, expressing his enduring love and appreciation for the Serie A club he left only last summer for a second spell at Stamford Bridge. During the same conversation, he also intimated that he was not happy at Chelsea.
If anything, his mood deteriorated further over the rest of the season, and this would usually mean a parting of the ways.

Lukaku doesn’t seem to fit into coach Thomas Tuchel’s system and the relationship between the two men is described as not the best by multiple sources.
Chelsea’s modern history shows that whenever a major acquisition doesn’t work, particularly with an expensive centre-forward, the club move them on and bring in someone else instead. Just look at what happened with Andriy Shevchenko (played two seasons for Chelsea), Fernando Torres (three and a half seasons) and Alvaro Morata (18 months).

But that was all during Roman Abramovich’s tenure. He was prepared to take on £1.6 billion of debt to see the club succeed. The Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium, who officially took over on Monday, aren’t going to operate that way.

The complexities of Lukaku rejoining Inter, which we will get into later, are a major obstacle. But shouldn’t the point being made here be that he has to stay anyway? Many of Lukaku’s critics among the fanbase will reject the notion, but there are reasons why this must be the stance.

First, there is a lot of work needed on rebuilding a squad that finished 19 points behind Manchester City and one closer to Liverpool, and only so much money to do it with. As highlighted, talk of Tuchel having as much as £200 million for signings is on the proviso that current players leave the club first.
Lukaku could be one of those, of course, but who is going to buy the 29-year-old outright just a year after Chelsea paid £97.5 million for him? The west London club are obviously not going to be willing to sell him on the cheap, and there are only a few clubs in the world who can afford his wages of a minimum of £340,000 a week.

Then there’s the fact his team-mates Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are also considering their futures. There are only so many players who can be let go at once.

Chelsea are already in a position where they have to consider spending a significant amount of their summer budget on replacing centre-backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who are both leaving as free agents. Other areas of the squad need addressing too.

If Lukaku were to leave, Chelsea would have to think about bringing another top forward in. They are already considering Inter’s Lautaro Martinez, but wouldn’t it make more sense for the two of them to be reunited, given their understanding at the Italian club between 2019-21 that culminating in winning the Serie A title in their second season as a partnership?

lukaku-chelsea


Lukaku’s first season back at Chelsea was a disappointment (Photo: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Tuchel could commit to playing Kai Havertz as the target man, with talented academy graduate Armando Broja — who had a good season on loan gaining Premier League experience at Southampton — providing back-up. But when compared to the riches in attack that City, Liverpool and Tottenham can call on, that feels a little light, especially when you’re trying to compete in four major competitions.

Nobody, not even Lukaku himself, will dispute that his first season back with Chelsea was a disappointment. He did finish as the club’s top scorer in all competitions with 15 goals, but when he was signed last August he was expected to come close to doubling that figure.

However, there were some mitigating circumstances that contributed to the dramatic decline in form after he started the campaign impressively with four goals in as many appearances. An ankle injury that cost him a month and then getting COVID-19 as he was working his way back to form after returning to action took a toll on his fitness and confidence.

Lukaku was dropped for the January 2 game against Liverpool as punishment for that Sky Italia interview, but then started 10 games in a row across four competitions. However, he didn’t get such a run in the side again over the season’s final months, with Tuchel seemingly losing patience after a dismal showing at Crystal Palace on February 19. He had to wait until May to be in the first XI for multiple successive games (four this time) again, so inevitably looked rusty in front of goal.

Quite rightly, an inability to link up with team-mates has been highlighted. And, as stated earlier, he also doesn’t seem to fit the style of football Tuchel wants to play.
It is often underestimated how much of a crucial part a full pre-season can play in overcoming such issues, though.

By the time Lukaku was signed, pre-season was over — Brentford and Arsenal kicked off the top-flight season the following day. With Belgium’s involvement at the European Championship continuing into July, he didn’t have many sessions back with Inter following his post-tournament summer break to get in peak shape either.

None of that will be the case this year.
If he does stay, Lukaku should be able to work out with his team-mates during their three-game US tour next month and be in much better condition ahead of the opening league match on the weekend of August 6-7.
The onus is on Tuchel to get more out of the players — especially in attack — at his disposal too. But the nature of the intense fixture list he’s faced since taking over in January last year means he hasn’t had as many hours as he would have liked on the training pitch to work on the system generally, let alone improving the other players’ understanding with Lukaku.

Injuries have also been a factor. Yes, Lukaku’s movement needs to improve, but like the team, he missed out on having first choice wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell providing him with service for long periods. Injuries meant the two England internationals started only 28 Premier League games between them last season. If they are on the pitch with him a lot more next term, Lukaku surely will benefit.

People who know the striker well say that to get the best out of him, he needs to feel loved by the coach, to feel important. That is why he thrived under Antonio Conte at Inter, scoring 47 goals in 72 Serie A appearances. But Lukaku should recognise he returned to Chelsea shortly after they’d won the Champions League, so he was never going to be the main star but another one added to their ranks.

tuchel-lukaku


Lukaku doesn’t seem to fit coach Tuchel’s system and the bond between the two is described as not the best (Photo: Robin Jones/Getty Images)

Tuchel also has to take some responsibility for how it has not worked out so far.
He may have had other transfer targets in mind last summer, like the ambitious move for Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, but when it emerged that signing Lukaku was more realistic, Tuchel was on board with that plan and played a part in convincing him to sign. The German is paid handsomely to a) improve individual players and then b) make them gel as a team.

There will be many who won’t be convinced; who think Chelsea should cut their losses and let Lukaku go to Inter.

Although it’s true the Serie A club are interested and were monitoring his situation throughout last season, it is hard to see how they can afford him.

For starters, he is paid significantly more now than he was on in Milan. Does Lukaku miss Inter so much he’d be prepared to take a pay-cut to go back? Would Chelsea be prepared to pay some of his wages? Reports in Italy claim the player is willing to make the sacrifice to get a deal done, but even if that’s the case, it doesn’t mean it will happen.

Another factor to bear in mind is that a tax-break rule in Italy known as the Growth Decree is changing at the start of next month. Since 2019, any foreign player aged over 20 and earning more than €1 million per year hasn’t had to pay the highest rate. It was introduced to help attract more talent like Lukaku to Serie A.
For Inter to have a chance of getting close to meeting Lukaku’s demands, they need to try to get an agreement in place while this benefit remains in place. That means by the end of June, which doesn’t give them a lot of time to finalise a transfer this complex.

Inter aren’t in a strong position financially. They were charged a high interest rate after being given a loan of €275 million (around £235 million) in May 2021 by US investment company Oaktree Capital. They have to pay that back by 2024.

With that in mind, Inter need to make a net profit of £50 million on transfers this summer — hardly conducive to signing someone as expensive as Lukaku would be. Even if Chelsea are prepared to let Inter borrow rather than buy him, they will ask for a significant loan fee.

One of the reasons Ivan Perisic was allowed to leave for Tottenham on a free transfer rather than be re-signed is to help reduce the wage bill, but that is a minor step. The impression is that one of Argentina striker Martinez, 24, and Italy defender Alessandro Bastoni, 23, will have to be sold for big money before the end of the month to improve their bank balance.

Lukaku is also splitting from agent Federico Pastorello, who has a good relationship with key personnel at both Chelsea and Inter and helped negotiate his transfer from one to the other last August.
Chelsea’s new owners have only just arrived on the scene, so Lukaku’s camp don’t know what their stance on the subject is.

Judging by the way they warmly greeted the player on the Stamford Bridge pitch after the final game of the season last month, it looked more like a sign of a new relationship beginning rather than an indication of going their separate ways.

Despite all these issues, the speculation is bound to continue for several weeks.
It is an interesting story, with the Tuchel-Lukaku relationship once again under the spotlight and being talked about.

But don’t be too shocked if Lukaku ends up staying put, for now at least.
 

Garrincha

Wilf Zaha Aficionado
Trusted ⭐
before they loan him out atleast temp Conte with an offer of Lukaku + money for Kane 🤷‍♂️

the fanbase would be outraged but Conte might bite... Kanes contract ticking down now same situation as Saka
 

pigge

Wishes Wrestling Fans Liked Him
before they loan him out atleast temp Conte with an offer of Lukaku + money for Kane 🤷‍♂️

the fanbase would be outraged but Conte might bite... Kanes contract ticking down now same situation as Saka
Except one is one of the best english players last 30 years and the other one is a promising kid
 

GDeep™

Reporting live from a Kremlin bunker
before they loan him out atleast temp Conte with an offer of Lukaku + money for Kane 🤷‍♂️

the fanbase would be outraged but Conte might bite... Kanes contract ticking down now same situation as Saka
Why would Conte bite? It’s a phenomenal drop in quality. Kane and Lukaku is the difference between 4th and maybe not even getting top 6.
 

Garrincha

Wilf Zaha Aficionado
Trusted ⭐
Why would Conte bite? It’s a phenomenal drop in quality. Kane and Lukaku is the difference between 4th and maybe not even getting top 6.
a striker he loves + more funds to build with... maybe they can get Kane to sign again and alls good but its ticking down
 

Riou

English Super Cup Enjoyer 🤗
Chelsea are already trying to buy Sterling, plus they need 2 new starting CBs too...they have to be smart with their money now.

Lil Rory is gonna how to get used to not having unlimited oil money, the prick.
 

Entropics

Well-Known Member

Player: Ramsdale
Being forced to use their world class academy is the best thing that can happen to them. Lampard already showed the way, even if his tenure was somehow considered a failure.
 

Rimaal

Mesmerised By Raccoons
Trusted ⭐
Chelsea are already trying to buy Sterling, plus they need 2 new starting CBs too...they have to be smart with their money now.

Lil Rory is gonna how to get used to not having unlimited oil money, the prick.

Rory is obviously smarter than you'll ever be. He regularly uploads videos just for the clicks (usually about Arsenal) and that is one of them.
 

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