Petr Cech believes that the best is yet to come from Romelu Lukaku in a Chelsea shirt, despite rising speculation about the striker’s future.
Lukaku looked like he would be the final piece in the Blues’ jigsaw upon his return to Stamford Bridge. Following Chelsea’s Champions League triumph, the £97.5million club-record deal for the Belgian looked a genius move.
But while he scored 15 goals last term, he never really hit his best heights. Instead, he made the headlines for not being on the pitch and his comments off it.
As such, he wants to return to Inter after he fired the Serie A club to the title in 2020/21 with 24 goals.
Speaking to Sky Sports, though, Chelsea technical director Cech is of the belief that Lukaku is staying next season. Indeed, he tipped the 102-cap Belgium international to hit his stride.
“I personally believe he will have a great season,” the former Blues goalkeeper said. “Last season we saw how strong he can be in the beginning when he came.
“Unfortunately the long-term injury he sustained in the game with Aston Villa slowed everything down and then he had Covid.
“We could see towards the end of the season when he was fit and ready to go how strong he is.
“We had a particular season as a team, around Christmas with Covid, and he was one of those affected. I have full confidence he will bounce back and have a strong season.”
Lukaku complained in December that boss Thomas Tuchel’s tactics were the root cause of his struggles.
He battled with Kai Havertz for a role all campaign, with the German preferred in the Premier League.
Lukaku helped lead Chelsea to the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals but could not make a telling impact in either Wembley trip.
Chelsea facing Lukaku dilemma
Cech seems to think that Lukaku can get back to his best form.
At his peak, the Belgian is the 20-goal or more striker who can lead any team to the title.
When he is not in his best shape, though, his lack of form is obvious and Chelsea have to consider both sides.
Chelsea want £20m to loan Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan
Chelsea want Romelu Lukaku gone but they will struggle to sell the striker and now want to loan him back to Inter Milan for £20m per loan
A deal with Inter is complicated given the Serie A side cannot afford to pay anything near the £97.5million the Blues paid to sign him, to bring him back to Italy.
Chelsea will therefore reportedly demand a £21million loan fee instead. They could also demand a player from Inter.
Having a player of that value and potential – and whose wages are reportedly over £200,000 per week – unhappy and out of form is a big ask. Chelsea face a dilemma over whether to keep him or move him on.