Premier League • England

Romelu Lukaku dropped by Tuchel: Pundit questions wisdom of two Chelsea signings

Romelu Lukaku dropped, Chelsea striker appeals for a foul during Carabao Cup semi-final v Tottenham

Chelsea’s decision to sign Romelu Lukaku has been called into question after the striker’s struggles were compounded after he was dropped from their Champions League starting line-up to face Lille.

The Blues face the reigning Ligue 1 champions at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie. And Thomas Tuchel’s side will start the match without a recognised striker having opted to leave Lukaku on the bench.

Indeed, he is axed from Thomas Tuchel’s line-up, with Kai Havertz playing in a false 9 position once again. And the Belgian international is benched, having touched the ball just seven times during Saturday’s win at Crystal Palace.

It all adds to Lukaku’s ongoing troubles at Stamford Bridge. He cost the Blues just shy of £98m this summer, returning to west London from Inter Milan.

However, he has surprisingly not been justifying his price tag. Lukaku has only scored five goals from 17 Premier League matches this season.

It has become a problem for Chelsea to solve, especially after the money they spent on him. Thomas Tuchel has already been speaking about how he has such a responsibility. However, the coach does not necessarily have an answer.

Lukaku dropped

Furthermore, Lukaku has previously spoken publicly about his regret at departing Inter Milan and signing for the Blues.

That led to a rebuke from Tuchel. And while the Blues did their best to keep the matter ‘in house’ his latest benching will only add to his woes.

Chelsea look at Ekitike to replace Lukaku as Abramovich gets frustrated

Chelsea look at Ekitike to replace Lukaku as Abramovich gets frustrated

Chelsea are loooking at Hugo Ekitike to replace Romelu Lukaku as Roman Abramovich gets frustrated with Chelsea striker

Lukaku isn’t the only striker ‘misfit’ at Chelsea either. They also shelled out around £44m on Timo Werner the summer before. Like Lukaku, though, he too has struggled to find a regular role with the Blues.

As a result, Darren Bent has questioned the wisdom in Chelsea signing either.

“You look at the two centre-forwards they’ve bough recently, Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku. Their biggest attributes are their pace. If you’re not going to play that way why sign these players?” Bent told talkSPORT.

Lukaku exit talk at Chelsea re-emerges

Lukaku is contracted to Chelsea until summer 2026.

However, given his struggles and his latest benching, it’s little wonder to see plenty suggesting he could depart the club before then.

According to journalist Fabrizio Biasin, with he could even be allowed to re-sign for Inter on loan.

Speaking before Lukaku dropped news emerged, Biasin told (via Sport Witness): “He was a magnet last season. All the balls pass by his feet.

“It is sensational to think about how many balls he touches at Chelsea. Maybe he’ll be back on loan next season.”

Inter are still working out a succession plan in their post-Lukaku era. They signed Edin Dzeko on a two-year contract in the summer, for example, as a short-term measure.

The Serie A champions will be looking for a younger striker as well when the season ends. One major target is Sassuolo frontman Gianluca Scamacca.

However, Biasin thinks Inter directors Giuseppe Marotta and Piero Ausilio will be looking for someone already of a high calibre too. In that regard, a return for Lukaku could be on the cards.

Biasin added: “I think it is correct to speak of a possibility Scamacca in front. On him a chip has been placed.

“But Marotta and Ausilio are two old foxes. They know that a more ready striker is also needed to play at great levels. So, they are also thinking of something else.”

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