Romelu Lukaku is enduring a difficult time at Chelsea. Remarkably it is just 250 days since Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge was announced by Chelsea to much fanfare. The Blues committed to paying Inter Milan £97.5million and Lukaku £200,000 per week for five years. Amid his current form, they must already be questioning that decision.
Lukaku has scored 12 goals in 36 appearances across all competitions for Chelsea so far this season. He has not started a Premier League game since February 19 and, when he has come off the bench, he has looked a shadow of his former self, missing more than presentable chances against both Real Madrid and Crystal Palace recently.
With Lukaku on the bench, Thomas Tuchel has settled upon a front three composed of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Mason Mount, all of whom are currently in good form. Nevertheless, due to his status, Lukaku remains a major talking point for Blues fans ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League match against Arsenal.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Tuchel has once again sought to explain his star player’s recent struggles. “I don’t think that he needs inspiration. He needs that one moment, that one spark,” he said.
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While discussing Lukaku last week, Tuchel said he believed “things can be turned around in minutes”. In that regard, Lukaku should look to Werner for inspiration. The German striker has endured regular dips in form since his own big-money move to west London, yet is currently enjoying a period of adulation.
Lukaku’s current woes are nothing compared to Werner’s in front of goal. The former RB Leipzig man has missed so many presentable chances in a Chelsea shirt that his problems in front of goal almost became a trademark: he was considered full of endeavour and determination but lacking any killer instinct. It has taken some time, but now he has changed his perception, having got three goals and two assists in his last three games.
Lukaku missed two headers against Real Madrid when Chelsea most needed a goal and he somehow conspired to hit the post from six yards against Palace when set up by Werner. But the tide will turn. The 28-year-old is only one year into his five-year deal and has essentially priced himself out of the market for any summer transfer.
He will have to stay and work through his troubles at Stamford Bridge. During the difficult times he would be wise to remember his words upon re-signing for Chelsea in August. “The relationship I have with this club means so much to me, as you know. I have supported Chelsea as a kid and now to be back and try to help them win more titles is an amazing feeling,” he said. “Since I left Chelsea, it’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but these experiences made me strong.” That strength should come in handy now.