Thomas Tuchel says Romelu Lukaku returned to Chelsea to “end his story here” after the striker sealed his club record from Internazionale.
Chelsea paid the Italian champions £ 97.5million for Lukaku, who joined the club he left for Everton in 2014. He struggled to grab opportunities in his first stint at Stamford Bridge, playing just 15 times and not scoring, but has since grown into one of the world’s outstanding center forwards. According to Tuchel, Lukaku was desperate to finish what he had started when he arrived from Anderlecht ten years ago.
“He was super hungry,” Tuchel said. “He did everything to take this chance to make it happen. Of course, he had a huge impact at Inter: he was a great player with a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, winning a big [Serie A] title for Inter last season. So it was very important to us that it was his desire to join Chelsea and to end his story here in the way he wanted for himself.
“We have a very strong group, defined by a very strong bond and with a certain attitude to be ready to help each other. We think Romelu, who comes here and still has Chelsea in his heart, is the perfect complement because he embodies it all.
Lukaku will be unable to make his second Chelsea debut when he hosts Crystal Palace on Saturday due to quarantine rules, but it is hoped he will be available to face Arsenal on August 22.
Hakim Ziyech will also be out against Palace, but Tuchel has said the shoulder injury that forced his withdrawal in the UEFA Super Cup win over Villarreal on Wednesday would not require surgery. “We hope it continues like this and that he can be back on the pitch in two weeks,” he said.
N’Golo Kanté is uncertain after what Tuchel described as a ‘final’ problem, which Chelsea won on penalties after extra time. “Physically, it was the worst thing that could happen to us in the stadiums where we are now, playing 120 minutes,” he said.