New Chelsea hitman Romelu Lukaku revealed what Thomas Tuchel has demanded of him, and outlined the influence Blues legend Didier Drogba has had in recent weeks.
The Belgian, 28, became the club’s record signing when arriving in a deal worth £97.5m last week. Lukaku could slot straight into Chelsea’s starting eleven as early as this coming weekend when the Blues take on London rivals Arsenal.
Almost 10 years on from arriving in west London as a teenager, Lukaku has returned to Chelsea as one of the globe’s leading goalscorers – and intends to assert that authority.
“I just feel more complete; I’ve tried to master all the facets that a striker needs and I just want to keep improving on the small details all the time and keep improving on my strengths as well,” Lukaku told Chelsea’s official club website.
“I just want to try to help the team win and be available for the manager as well as for my team-mates. I want to make sure that they feel comfortable and they can lean on me in whatever situation we’re in.
“The two years in Italy helped me master all the facets of the game for a striker and now I’m ready.”
Lukaku fired 27 goals and laid on 11 assists last term as Inter stormed to the Serie A title.
Belgium’s leading scorer with 64 goals, Lukaku already boasts vast Premier League experience after stints with West Brom, Everton and Manchester United.
Chelsea expect Lukaku’s prolific finishing ability to add a new predatory instinct to a Blues squad that squandered a host of gilt-edged opportunities last term. And Lukaku is confident he can fill any central role required of him by Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.
Asked what he has discussed with the Blues boss, Lukaku said: “The conversation was really clear from him, that he wants me to be a presence and a leader in the team.
“I have to just use all my abilities to make sure I can help the team as much as possible. My role will depend on what the game plan is and what the boss wants me to do.
“If he wants me to be a focal point or if he wants me to attack the spaces in behind, I can do it.
“I like the system that we play and I’m very flexible. I can play as a two or by myself and I’m used to the system because it’s what we play with the Belgian national team so I don’t need much time to adapt.
“It’s just knowing the strengths of my team-mates in important positions and knowing what we do off the ball, then I can do the rest.
“It’s not like I’m a new player coming in and not quite knowing what to expect. I know the league, I’ve scored a fair amount of goals here but the past is the past and now we have to look forward.
“I’m a new version of that player from before. I’ve evolved and the team that I’m joining is a very strong team so now we just have to prove it on the pitch by challenging for the Premier League.”
Lukaku reveals Chelsea legend Drogba’s influence
Pledging to act as a unifying presence, Lukaku also revealed he continues to lean on former Chelsea star Didier Drogba for advice and guidance.
“I’m a leader but I’m also more of a gel person, making sure that everybody feels comfortable and confident; that’s the way I lead,” said Lukaku.
“When I was at Inter and when I’ve been captain of the national team, I make sure that everybody is confident and knows what they have to do.
“When there’s a difficult moment in the game, they can lean on me and I’ll always be encouraging my team-mates, never being down on them or barking at them.”
On Drogba, Lukaku added: “Our relationship means the world to me. It’s not like we talk once a month, I talk to the guy every few days!
“We have a group chat so we’re constantly communicating and I’ve been on the phone with him a bit more in the past two weeks.
“I had a lot of questions to ask and he still knows a lot of people here so he really prepared me well with the last details.
“Now I just need to get to know the players and the manager a bit better and just be available as quickly as possible for the team.”