The Belgium international underwent part of his medical examination in Italy on Monday before flying away to complete the formalities of his return to Stamford Bridge. His arrival is expected to be confirmed ahead of the European Champions’ Premier League season opener against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
THomas Tuchel is convinced he landed one of the deadliest strikers on the planet, after Romelu Lukaku said goodbye to Inter Milan ahead of his £ 97.5million move to Chelsea.
And Lukaku’s arrival has pushed Tammy Abraham closer to the exit door, with Roma becoming the main contenders for the England forward’s signing.
Tuchel said: “Romelu is one of the guys like [Erling] Haaland à Dortmund, [Robert] Lewandowski at Bayern Munich, Harry Kane at Tottenham, who is a real No.9 who likes to score and has presence in the box. It’s not a secret. The phrase is easy to repeat for any trainer in the world.
“That’s the kind of profile we’re looking for, and if it’s possible to convince the agents and the clubs, we’ll do our best.”
It is only a matter of time before Lukaku’s return is confirmed, seven years after leaving the club where he was an academy star.
The 28-year-old and his advisers will finalize his return when he flies to England, with Tuchel celebrating the key signing he believes Chelsea needed to mount a real title challenge to champions Manchester City this season .
The German manager insisted he had to add a first-class striker to his squad, informing Chelsea manager Marina Granovskaia of the elite players on his wanted list. That list included Haaland, Kane and Sergio Aguero before they got closer to Lukaku at the end of last month.
“We lost Olivier Giroud, who played a crucial role in the club,” Tuchel told Sky Sports. “He was the kind of profile who likes to play with his back to goal, who likes to hold the ball, who creates space for Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, who is ready to fight physically with the defenders.
“This is the kind of profile that we don’t have in our team right now and that we are looking for. Now is not the time to talk about names as we haven’t signed anyone yet and we will show all respect to other clubs.
Negotiations for Lukaku went quickly last week, with Chelsea seeing a more cash player offer for the first time, including Marcos Alonso, rejected by Inter.
A full cash offer of £ 97.5million has been accepted by the Italian champions after Lukaku made it clear he wants a return to his former club.
Tuchel also wants to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde this summer, but much of Chelsea’s transfer activity will revolve around player exits. Abraham is set to leave, with Jose Mourinho now becoming one of the main contenders to threaten Arsenal and West Ham’s hopes of signing the 23-year-old.
Tuchel quickly lost faith in Abraham after taking over in January, throwing him just four times and leaving him out of the squad for the Champions League final.
Atalanta are also monitoring his situation, while Arsenal and West Ham are among English clubs interested in a player valued at £ 40million.
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “Armando is a very talented player who impressed us last season. He is young, but now he comes with a full season of senior football experience with a good team, and he brings a lot of qualities that can help us. I know how much he is appreciated by Chelsea, and I think it will be a good place for him to pursue his own development.