Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick believes Romelu Lukaku can be a success at Chelsea as long as Thomas Tuchel builds their team around him.
The Belgium international endured a difficult time in his second season at Manchester United before moving to Inter Milan, and now he looks set to return to the Premier League for a second stint at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have agreed a deal worth a club record €115 million (£97.5m) to re-sign Lukaku, as per The Athletic. They needed a way of securing more goals and couldn’t rely on Timo Werner for another season.
Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, Chadwick opens up on where it went wrong for Lukaku at United.
“I don’t think Lukaku felt trusted or felt like the main man at Manchester United,” Chadwick said. “I think he was made to feel that at Inter Milan, the team was built around him.
“The sort of money Chelsea are spending on him, they will probably build a team around him and his strengths. I think that’s what Lukaku needs, he needs to feel trusted and I think that’s what Chelsea are going to do.
“It probably helps that he’s been with the club before, so he knows the club and that should mean he doesn’t need much of a settling-in period. He can hit the ground running and I’m sure he’ll be keen to show Chelsea what they missed out on the first time around.”
But does this bring Chelsea closer to the Premier League title — like we hope the signings of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane will do for United over the coming months? Time will tell and Chadwick still thinks the Blues are some way off being favourites for the league title.
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“I don’t think it makes Chelsea title favourites. It obviously strengthens their squad – what they were missing last season was a real goal-scoring centre-forward,” he added. “Tammy Abraham was a young player who wasn’t really trusted much, Timo Werner came in for big money but didn’t score the goals you expected.
“Lukaku is now coming in after perhaps the best spell of his career, he really looks like one of the best centre-forwards in the world at the moment. Chelsea looked at Haaland earlier in the summer and that obviously wasn’t to be, but Lukaku is right up there.
“I think City are still favourites through, with Grealish coming in. Manchester United have strengthened well and I’d say those three are slightly ahead of Liverpool at the moment, with Klopp not strengthening much.
“It certainly bodes well for an exciting Premier League season with the quality of these teams, and with fans back in the stadiums as well. I think it could be one of the most exciting title races for a long time.
“I’d make City favourites but the signings by Chelsea and United surely mean they’re going to get a bit closer, and you can never rule out Liverpool either with Klopp in charge and the way he gets his team playing.”