Tantrums and tactics turned Romelu Lukaku’s Chelsea dream into a nightmare | Soccer News

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Romelu Lukaku arrived at Chelsea announcing his move as a dream come true, but less than a year later the Belgium striker is set to join Inter Milan as one of the most expensive flops in Premier history League. Lukaku was hailed as the final piece of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea puzzle when he was signed from Inter Milan for a club-record 97.5 million euros (119 million USD) last August.

But everything that could go wrong went wrong for the 29-year-old during his disastrous second stint with the Blues.

Lukaku’s stock has plummeted so much that Tuchel cut ties with the former Manchester United and Everton player after just one season.

Inter are expected to confirm his return to the San Siro shortly, after agreeing an eight million euro ($8.4 million) loan fee for Lukaku.

Lukaku is believed to have taken a pay cut, such is his desire to leave Stamford Bridge at all costs.

He finished the season as Chelsea’s top scorer with 15 goals in 44 appearances, but that stat doesn’t tell the whole story of his miserable time in west London.

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Lukaku has scored just eight times in the Premier League and new Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly was quick to approve his impending exit.

He joins Fernando Torres, Andriy Shevchenko, Alvaro Morata and Chris Sutton as the latest top striker who has failed to justify a high price tag at Chelsea.

After sacking Inter to the Serie A title in 2021, Lukaku’s combination of power and predatory finishing should have been key to a dominant spell for Chelsea, who won the Champions League just months before his signing .

Lukaku touted the move, on a lucrative five-year contract, as an emotional return after playing for the club he supported as a boy from 2011-14.

“I’m happy and blessed to be back at this wonderful club. Trying to help them win more titles is an amazing feeling,” Lukaku said at the time.

damning accusation

Lukaku’s initial enthusiasm fueled four goals in his first four appearances, intimidating the Arsenal defense into a display of power that could overwhelm any opponent if they were in the mood.

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However, Lukaku’s attitude quickly turned sour as a six-game scoreless run raised concerns over his ability to adapt to Tuchel’s system.

Hampered by an ankle injury and a battle with coronavirus, Lukaku lost his spot to Kai Havertz.

Lukaku was unhappy with the way Tuchel was using him, a sentiment his former Inter boss Antonio Conte expressed when he said the German didn’t ‘understand’ how best to use him. ‘attacker.

While Tuchel must take some of the blame, Lukaku destroyed his hopes of turning the tide with an incendiary interview in December.

“Physically I’m fine. But I’m not happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system,” Lukaku told Italian TV.

“I really, sincerely hope from the bottom of my heart to come back to Inter.”

Tuchel was understandably furious and ditched Lukaku for Liverpool’s visit to the bridge just days after the interview aired.

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Lukaku was forced to apologize to Chelsea and the club’s fans.

When he finally returned to the side, his body language was appalling as he roamed games and argued with team-mate Hakim Ziyech in a game against Brighton.

Lukaku’s miserable season came to a breaking point at Crystal Palace in February when he broke the record for the fewest touches (seven) by an outfield player in a Premier League match.

“It’s not about the system. For him, it doesn’t change anything. The data is there and the data speaks a certain language,” Tuchel said in a damning indictment.

After four months without a goal in the Premier League, Lukaku scored three games in two towards the end of the season, earning a place in the FA Cup final squad against Liverpool.

Promoted

Still, Lukaku’s limp display as Chelsea lost on penalties at Wembley was a fitting epitaph to his turbulent year.

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