The toughest thing to do at the very top level of any professional sport is not just to win, but to win consistently. Vanquishing challengers year after year requires not only some of the best players and coaching, but also a clarity of vision for long(er)-term planning, expert squad building, and faultless decision-making. And there are factors within each of those factors, all of which have to be accounted for and taken care of with near perfection.
It’s practically an impossible task. Dynasties are rare after all. Still, we try, and try we should, even if try is all we can. (Sorry, Master Yoda...)
The arrival of Romelu Lukaku is one (big) part of this plan right now at Chelsea, ticking plenty of boxes, including tactical, motivational, but also those that are harder to define as well, such as maintaining or even improving the balance and chemistry in the squad.
Ahead of Lukaku’s expected (second) debut this Sunday against Arsenal, head coach Thomas Tuchel reflected on the expectations with and of Romelu, on and off the pitch.
“We try to make the squad better and to be better is to be at the same level as last season but consistently, over a longer period. This is what I demand of myself and it does not work without quality. We are not doing magic on the sidelines. We try to bring out the best from players and from the team and these two things we try to bring together.
“[But] every loss from the group [also] means something to the energy, to the chemistry, with whom were they are friends? With whom did they connect? Who were they pushing? Who was pushing them? Guys like Emerson, like Tammy Abraham, like Oli Giroud. They were hugely involved in this group and a big part of the success. But change is a process.
“Once you bring players for the amount of money but also of the status and the quality [of Lukaku] then of course expectations do not get lower. It’s actually the same for us. My expectations do not get lower so let’s be positive about it and do our best.”
Since his arrival, Lukaku has repeatedly and emphatically spoken about his desire to be a winner above all else. That certainly fits with the Chelsea DNA and the culture we’re trying to (re-)cultivate at the club.
All players might say that of course, especially at big clubs, but Lukaku has little to prove in terms of individual accomplishments. He does have plenty of unfinished business at Chelsea, and his desire to fulfill those dreams made him the perfect signing at striker for us this summer.
“There were not many names but one of the absolute top solutions was Romelu. We tried and we tried hard. We could feel he tried hard and we reached a point that is very important but has maybe not been mentioned: how much does the player want to play for Chelsea?
“How much of the story does he want to write at this club? Is this the next step on his way? Or is it like, ‘yes, I would love to but I am happy where I am’. Or is it, ‘yes, this comes at the right moment and I will actually walk to you’. And this is what Romelu absolutely transmitted to us.
“[Now] at the moment, it is more fun than pressure. It looks like the perfect fit and it’s our job of course to bring out the best of this group.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
I think we’re all sufficiently hyped at this point. Can’t wait to get started!