The three Chelsea players that will benefit most from Romelu Lukaku’s signing
Chelsea fans are set to be reunited with Romelu Lukaku, with a deal worth 115 million euros having been agreed between the Blues and Inter Milan. The transfer will make Lukaku, who scored 26 goals last season, their record signing, overtaking Kai Havertz on the Chelsea all-time list.
Romelu Lukaku is flying to London to complete his £97.5m (€115m) transfer to Chelsea from Inter Milan.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 9, 2021
The signing will come as a huge boost for the whole club, who struggled in front of goal last campaign. Jorginho ended the season as the club’s top goalscorer in the Premier League, having converted seven penalties.
Of course, Lukaku’s qualities are undeniable, with the Belgian having scored prolifically for three clubs in the Premier League previously, as well as Inter Milan and Belgium. However, there is so much more to his game than goals.
One of those skills is bringing the best out of the people around him, as the 10 assists that he recorded last season begin to indicate.
With this in mind, 101 take a look at the three Chelsea players set to benefit most from Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge.
Could this be the season that Timo Werner explodes in a blue Chelsea shirt?
Following a 45 million pound move from RB Leipzig last season, the German forward endured the most difficult season in his professional career to date. His 35 appearances for Chelsea saw him record just 6 goals, although he did provide an additional 12 assists.
Nevertheless, his goal return was a far cry from the 28 he netted in his final season at RB Leipzig, and he often seemed to struggle in front of goal, scoring just twice in the Premier League between Christmas and the end of the season.
Where he did impress, however, was in his off the ball movement. This was shown in the Champions League final, where his run from in to out took the Manchester City defender out of his position, allowing eventual goalscorer Kai Havertz to run into the open space.
Lukaku’s addition will represent a return to normality for Timo Werner too, who typically played alongside another forward at RB Leipzig, normally the 6 foot 3 inch Dane Yussuf Poulsen.
As Werner himself told Football Daily, having a big striker next to him “always helped me”, and having one as good as Lukaku will certainly be a bonus for the German.
🗣 “He’s probably one of the best three strikers in the world at the moment. It always helped me having a big striker alongside me.”
Timo Werner says playing with a striker like Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea will help his own game pic.twitter.com/IJAx2sxLlI
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 10, 2021
They could strike up quite the partnership too, with both used to playing in a two striker system. If Timo Werner can prove anywhere near as effective as Lukaku’s ex-Inter Milan teammate Lautaro Martinez as a foil to the Belgian, then they could well take the Premier League by storm.
Mason Mount was a shining light for Chelsea last season, voted the club’s player of the season and finishing the campaign with six goals and six assists.
However, he led the side for chances created, both from open play and, crucially, from set pieces.
Chelsea have scored more goals from corners than any other team in the #PL this season (8)
Three of these goals being headers from Mason Mount assists#CHEWHU pic.twitter.com/FTdydnpSpg
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 22, 2020
Often, Mount’s delivery is perfect, and Chelsea are just missing the final header. In the form of Lukaku, however, they have signed someone who may be able to remedy this, having scored 46 headed goals in his career (as per transfermarkt.com).
In open play too, Lukaku will be a huge asset to Mount. Often mischaracterised as a target man due to his size, while Lukaku is adept at holding the ball up, he is also an intelligent runner off the ball, creating space for his team-mates.
Much like Werner, Lukaku’s runs into the channels create space for midfield runners, although whereas Werner prefers to run into the left channels, Lukaku favours the right channels (or half-space).
This can clearly be seen in Belgium’s victory over Denmark at Euro 2020. For both of the Red Devils goals, Lukaku begins the move in the right channel of the pitch, finding oncoming midfield runners in Kevin De Bruyne and Youri Tielemans.
It remains to be seen what system Thomas Tuchel favours for the upcoming season, but a continuation of the 3-4-2-1 come 3-5-2 seems likely given the resources at the German’s disposal. In this system, Mason Mount is chiefly a left-sided player but is given a license to roam and join attacks freely.
With Lukaku regularly searching for midfield runners, expect Mount to be getting his name on the scoresheet much more regularly this season, and evoking more Frank Lampard comparisons with his movement into the box.
This is perhaps an odd one at first glance, given that Kai Havertz cannot be sure of a starting berth in the early parts of the season. Havertz remains a unique and raw talent, that can be moulded into a centre-forward, an attacking midfielder, or even an attacking “number 8”, something that made his first Premier League season a struggle at times.
Lukaku’s arrival will ease the pressure on the youngster, who will no longer be Chelsea’s most expensive ever signing, something which may have weighed him down last season. Moreover, with the addition of a clinical goalscorer, there will be less pressure on the German to come up with the goods every single game.
Thomas Tuchel is backing Timo Werner and Kai Havertz to perform this season for Chelsea pic.twitter.com/ZXrYvCdiRr
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 10, 2021
Of course, given the trio already mentioned, there is no guarantee that Havertz will be nailed on starter for every game, but his game can only improve in his second season at Stamford Bridge, while his finishing ability and movement off the ball will cause plenty of defences problems this campaign.
Lukaku was not the first option for Chelsea, having pushed hard for a deal for Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland earlier in the window. However, in the Belgian forward, Chelsea may be getting the perfect man to get the best out of the current crop of players in west London, while scoring plenty of goals himself in the process.
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