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Tuchel confirms Chelsea striker search as Lukaku reportedly agrees to return

Tell me you’re signing Romelu Lukaku without telling me you’re singing Romelu Lukaku

FBL-ENG-CHELSEA-TOTTENHAM-FRIENDLY Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Romelu Lukaku looks likely to return to Chelsea, every bit the conquering prodigal son seven years after his departure, with rumors making it sound like it’s pretty much a formality though with Chelsea yet to agree personal terms and, more importantly, yet to agree a transfer fee with Inter Milan.

But, where there is a will, there is a way, and there certainly seems to be plenty of will to make this happen, from both sides — with Lukaku “open” to returning and supposedly now having made that clear to Inter, who are looking for €120-130m.

That’s no small amount, to be sure — a Premier League record, in fact — but after Wednesday’s friendly, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed that we are indeed very much looking for a striker, even as he sidestepped identifying Lukaku as that specific striker (and also struck a note of caution about the potential financials involved).

“I will not talk about players who don’t play in my squad. Romelu Lukaku is a fantastic player but he’s an Inter player and, with all due respect, I will not talk about him in this situation.”

“Everyone wants to come, hopefully! Well, not everyone unfortunately but you can imagine a lot of players want to come and join. But like I said, we will not comment on that.”

“We talk to the board about players, have our own opinions, and the scouts have their opinions too. In the end we target players who in all our opinion could make our squad stronger, which is quite a challenge to find. And we’re not only talking about talent but attitude because we have a strong squad. There are some players that we think they can be a good target and improvement in our squad. I will not comment on names as I don’t like it when other coaches speak about my players.”

“With the exit of Olivier Giroud, we could use a type player who is used to playing with their back to the goal and can keep possession out of long balls as that means we can add this direct style of play to our portfolio. That isn’t Timo [Werner], it’s not Tammy [Abraham], it’s not Kai [Havertz]. So this is a profile we don’t have in the squad that can be useful. But not for any cost and not in panic.

“No matter what happens, we will be competitive and we have trust in our guys. We still have young players in the offensive part of the game from whom we demand improvement. So we are relaxed and well aware of our situation at the same time.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

Describing Lukaku as a hold-up player and target man may be a bit surprising if knowing him only from his time with us and in the Premier League, but he got a serious education in that regard from Antonio Conte over the past couple years, and should be a perfect fit for Tuchel’s 3-4-3/3-5-2 just the same.