The Blues sealed a record club transfer to bring Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge after scoring 24 Serie A goals last season, sacking the Nerazzurri to the Serie A title last season.
The 28-year-old has signed a long-term contract as he prepares to start a second stint in west London, having become Thomas Tuchel’s second summer signing.
Chelsea’s need to sign a striker grew even more desperate after defensive midfielder Jorginho ended the season as the top scorer with seven goals.
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The Italian even beat the total of six goals for £ 47.5million striker Timo Werner, while German star Kai Havertz has struggled to score just four times in the league.
Tuchel still managed to guide the West London club to fourth place in the Premier League after joining the club in January.
But now, armed with Lukaku, Keane believes the Champions League winners will be a force to be reckoned with – and has tipped them off as the main challengers to take Manchester City off the top.
“You’ve been looking for a year or two to go out as a goalscorer, but Lukaku is giving them a big chance,” Keane said, speaking on The Overlap.
“I know Liverpool have a lot of returning players, but I would always watch City and Chelsea. “
It was the German’s move to a 3-4-3 formation that turned the team that lost goals under Frank Lampard into a defensive force, with 19 clean sheets in 30 games.
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They were beaten in third place by Liverpool, who recovered to finish the season 10 games unbeaten after an alarming fall under Jurgen Klopp who saw them lose six straight home games.
But with the return of Virgil van Dijk and the Reds backed by the £ 35million arrival of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, Klopp’s men should be able to fight for the title.
Manchester United will be keen to issue a serious challenge to their first four rivals after signing Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane almost confirmed as their second signing.
However, Keane doesn’t believe either side will be able to keep up with City or Chelsea unless they beef up their squad before the August 31 transfer deadline.
He added: “Unless United or Liverpool pull something out of the bag in the next week or two with a few brilliant signings, I can’t see past City or Chelsea. “
Chelsea host Crystal Palace in their Premier League opener on Saturday with silverware already under their belt.
Tuchel’s men worked on a penalty shootout win over Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup, with Kepa Arrizabalaga the hero after saving two shots on goal to claim the victory in Belfast on Wednesday.
And Tuchel, who signed a new two-year contract in June after impressing Chelsea’s board, agrees with Keane’s assessment that his side can compete for their first league title. since 2017.
But he warned his players they had to learn to be consistent or risk missing out on English football’s top prize.
” We [will] try to be there [at the top] Said the 47-year-old.
” Why? Because we have proven in six months that we are capable of doing it and that will be the exact step.
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“Can we predict what other people are doing? No, but City showed what it was like to be champions. Liverpool have shown what it is to be champions.
“You need consistency at the highest level in the toughest league in the world and that’s the benchmark.
“We’re here to close the gap not just for six months, but for the whole year. “