Thomas Tuchel has compared Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea icon Didier Drogba, following the Belgian’s return to Stamford Bridge this week in a £97.5m deal.
The 28-year-old arrives back in the Premier League off the back of a stellar two-year stint with Inter Milan, having plundered 64 goals in just 95 appearances for the Italian side in all competitions, including netting 24 Serie A goals last term to help fire Antonio Conte’s side to the title.
With financial woes sparking a need to sell at the San Siro, the club have reluctantly allowed their talisman to depart, with Chelsea’s mouthwatering bid simply too good to turn down in the current economic climate.
The move will see the former Manchester United man begin his second stint at Stamford Bridge, having originally joined the club from Anderlecht a decade ago, before eventually moving to Everton following a successful loan move in 2014.
With much of his three-year stint in west London spent out on loan with the Toffees and with West Bromwich Albion, the striker was restricted to just ten goalless top-flight appearances for the Blues.
The Belgian international will have to wait to add to that tally as he is unavailable for the club’s opening weekend clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday, although manager Thomas Tuchel has insisted that he is set to make his debut against rivals Arsenal next week.
“Romelu is still in quarantine and following the protocols,” Tuchel told his pre-match press conference. “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.
“We always try to do it as fast as possible and the sooner the better. As I said, 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.”
The forward’s expensive arrival has been deemed as a necessary purchase for Tuchel’s side, the club having struggled for goals last season with the joint-top scorers of Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner netting just 12 goals apiece in all competitions.
While there are a number of hugely talented forward players already at the club, the German believes that his new signing can be a ‘benefit’ to those around him, while he also drew parallels between Lukaku and the club’s imposing strikers of recent times, notably Didier Drogba.
“Before I even entered the club and had the chance to be part of it I thought of 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,” Tuchel added.
“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, we have to see it, from next Monday on we will work on that and hopefully they can be together with our other guys, the guys that our fans really like to see on the pitch 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.”
Chelsea take on Patrick Vieira’s Palace side at home on Saturday afternoon.