Chelsea are trying to re-sign Romelu Lukaku, as they attempt to emerge as challengers to Manchester City. BBC Sport report that Inter Milan have rejected an £85 million bid for their star striker from the Blues. The Serie A champions do have financial issues to deal with, therefore a further offer could be submitted. Marcos Alonso has been mooted as a potential makeweight.
Erling Haaland had been Chelsea’s priority target, but the attentions have switched to their former striker. Lukaku would be a signing that sums up the approach of Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea, as they are very much a ‘win now’ football club. When he was one of the most exciting teenage strikers in Europe, he managed only 15 appearances at Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku is now one of the best strikers in the world and entering his prime. It isn’t surprising that Chelsea are looking to bring him back to the club.
During his two seasons with Inter Milan, he has been one of the best players in Serie A. Lukaku has scored 47 times in the league, at a rate of one every 124.9 minutes. This is roughly a goal every other game. He also showed his class in the Champions League, despite Inter’s early exit. In last season’s competition, he scored four times in five matches.
A deeper look into his underlying metrics support that he is now one of the best forwards in the world. Lukaku averages 2.86 shots per game, ranking in the 74th percentile among forward players. This may not seem overly impressive, but his expected goal (xG) metrics are. The former Manchester United striker averages 0.58 non-penalty xG per ninety minutes, showing that he is taking shots from good locations. He rates in the 94th percentile for xG.
The 28-year-old isn’t just a goal-scorer. He is a more complete striker, as shown by his creative numbers. Lukaku registered 11 assists last season and he was deserving of this number. His average of 0.22 expected assists (xA) per ninety minutes places him in the 92nd percentile among forwards.
During the summer, he showed the creative side to his game, as he was sometimes played on the right wing by Belgium. His powerful running and ability to pick a pass means that he carries a dual threat in the final third. For Inter, he averages 3.52 shot creating actions per ninety minutes.
As Chelsea play with one striker, it is important that the individual in the role can carry a goal threat and bring the array of talented forwards into the game. Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech are all very direct players, which means the Blues need a striker capable of releasing them into dangerous areas. Lukaku is the perfect fit for the current set-up under Thomas Tuchel.
Supporters were excited about the possibility of signing Haaland. However, if he is unattainable, Lukaku is an excellent option that will improve the Chelsea first team.
Although they have yet to make any major signings, Chelsea are showing intelligence in their approach this summer. They already have a talented squad and don’t need to spend money unless the incoming player improves the first team. Lukaku certainly meets that criteria.
The noise around Lukaku returning to Stamford Bridge is getting louder. If Chelsea manage to sign their former striker, it will be an excellent piece of business and one that moves the club closer to a title challenge.