In a few short hours, Chelsea will take on Crystal Palace to begin the new Premier League season, though we will do so without new arrival Romelu Lukaku, who’s quarantining thanks to some mystery protocol until Monday — a surprising development considering that this time last week we had been hoping he’d be available for Wednesday’s Super Cup match, even.
In any case, Thomas Tuchel is among those who can hardly wait for Lukaku to emerge from his self-isolation and join the rest of the squad on the training ground.
“Romelu is still in quarantine and following the protocols. He will be out on Monday doing the whole training with us next week and will play for us against Arsenal. This is the plan. [...] If we could have wished for something, he would have been maybe on the pitch and available for even Wednesday. But the sooner the better, because every game counts and we are happy.”
Having spent a club record fee, expectations are certainly lofty of our prodigal son, and not just because of the goals and assists and world class center forward play he’ll provide.
Tuchel has no doubt that Lukaku will join the pantheon of iconic players at Stamford Bridge — part of a new guard, if you will, following in the footsteps of the Old Guard who certainly embodied and defined Chelsea in the modern, Abramovich Era.
“[The] personalities up front of a certain category of striker like Didier Drogba, like Diego Costa, that for me embodies Chelsea and what Chelsea stands for. And Mason [Mount], of course, there are a lot of comparisons with Frank Lampard and his style of play in the way that he grew up and how he interprets his game.
“I hope they click together [and] can shape a certain profile of Chelsea Football Club. He will take the weight off the shoulders from our younger strikers, from our younger players around him, and I think this is a huge part of the story, that he does not step away and is also happy to make life easier for players around him. I think these players like Christian [Pulisic], like Kai [Havertz], like Timo [Werner], they will benefit from him.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Goal
Goals, assists, wins, leadership, ambition, drive — setting an example on and off the pitch. If Lukaku does all that, he will certainly prove to be the perfect addition, the missing piece, which is what we’re all hoping, Tuchel included.
“His desire to rejoin Chelsea and to finish his story here [was] very important. We have a very strong group that is defined by a very strong bond and with a certain attitude to be ready to help each other out. We think that Romelu, coming through here and always having Chelsea in his heart, is the perfect addition to our group because he embodies all that.”
Good intentions are just that however. Intentions. They often pave the way to disaster, even, as the old saying goes. So Lukaku will certainly have to produce on the pitch above all else. As a student of the club, he will be well aware of all of our good intentions at his position that have often led to high profile failures and flops in the past.
That said, Lukaku just may be the most complete striker we’ve ever signed (Drogba developed into one, but wasn’t signed as one), who should fit into the team seamlessly and be able to contribute in multiple ways and a variety of tactical approaches.
“He has the power, the physique to help us, the experience and the personality to have a huge impact on our squad. [We] were looking for a certain profile and Romelu feels confident to play physical, to play with back to goal, also very strong in using his pace so this will always be a key figure in our game.
“We want to be strong in ball wins and offensive transition, this is what the league demands and what we demand of ourselves. We don’t want to be only a ball possession team or only a defensive team, long balls, but the feeling that Romelu’s strengths will give us a new power when we cross from the side.
I don’t think we have to change too much our style of play. He has charisma, a good age now, a leader and hopefully he will be a leader in our group. [We] had to be sure that the player was good enough, in the right state of mind and can give with his personality to improve us. We wanted to be as sure as we can with this transfer. There are always doubts with transfers but we are very sure with Romelu because he knows the club and what Chelsea is about. It is like this.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
We are very sure with Romelu. Follow him into battle.
So say we all.