How Romelu Lukaku will impact Thomas Tuchel’s tactical plans for Chelsea FC
What does £97.5million buy you?
That was the overriding motivation for Chelsea to break their club record for Romelu Lukaku and bring back the player they allowed to leave for around £70m less seven years ago.
But Thomas Tuchel expects much more than just the finishing touch from the Belgium international when he potentially makes his debut against Arsenal a week on Sunday.
Lukaku fills Chelsea’s most problematic position under Tuchel – and such are the German manager’s demands and expectations of a No9 that he told Marina Granovskaia that only the best would do when making a centre forward his priority this summer.
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He was only half joking when saying on Friday that he had targeted Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski when drawing up a short list of targets.
When Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic was floated as an alternative, Tuchel was adamant about the market Chelsea needed to be shopping in if he was to turn them into genuine title challengers.
So while Haaland may have been the first choice, Lukaku certainly fit the profile with his physical presence, speed, finishing and, as a bonus, his experience of the Premier League.
Tuchel expects an instant impact from Lukaku, which could be crucial in the opening weeks of a campaign when players returning from the Euros and Copa America are still getting up to speed.
He also believes the 28-year-old offers Chelsea a new dimension that neither Olivier Giroud nor Tammy Abraham could.