Romelu Lukaku has no future at Chelsea as long as Thomas Tuchel continues to mismanage his goalscoring skills.
That’s according to talkSPORT pundit and former Premier League star Carlton Palmer, who has been left baffled by the German coach’s treatment of the striker since his return to Stamford Bridge.
Rumors have swirled about Lukaku’s long-term future even since the player himself spoke in December about his role in the Chelsea squad and his departure from Inter Milan – where he was a popular figure and an essential player in a title-winning team.
The 28-year-old sparked controversy when he told Italian media about his unhappiness at Chelsea, how he never really wanted to leave Inter, how he would have stayed had they responded to Chelsea’s interest with their own contract offer, and admitting he was ‘injured’, the Italian giants didn’t try harder to keep him.
Tuchel has responded to the gossip surrounding the striker, who is linked with the exit door in the next summer window just a season after joining Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million deal, and insists that he is an “important” player. for the team.
Speaking ahead of the Blues’ Premier League clash against Brentford, Tuchel said: “We’re not thinking about it. [the Lukaku rumours].
“Our situation right now is that we can’t talk to players, we can’t sell and we can’t buy, so right now we don’t even need to think about it.
“These are the players we have and Romelu plays a big part in our plans. Maybe not the role he wants to play, and I totally understand that.
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“But he also took advantage of his free time to disconnect a bit – he had a week off and then he came back with us, and I think he is very motivated and very strong in training.
“He is very involved in the games, he is a winner and he will remain a winner and he will remain important for us.”
The question, however, is whether Lukaku has really been that important to Chelsea this season.
The Belgium international has scored 12 goals in all competitions for the Blues this season but only five in 19 Premier League appearances, having failed to find the net in his last seven top-flight outings.
Kai Havertz is currently keeping him out of the squad, with the German now hitting the form many expected of him when Chelsea signed him from Bayern Leverkusen for £70million.
Havertz came away ahead of Lukaku against Brentford – an embarrassing 4-1 defeat for the Blues. The Belgian sat on the bench until the 65th minute when they were already down 3-1.
Despite Tuchel’s claims – Chelsea will be able to buy and sell once their takeover is completed – Lukaku’s future at Stamford Bridge is far from certain.
In fact, former England international Palmer is certain that he has no future at all at the London club, as long as the German coach is in charge.
“I don’t think he has a future under Tuchel, really not,” he told talkSPORT.
“When he first came back, he started the season on fire. He’s an absolutely fantastic footballer, and I just don’t understand why a manager would sign a player for that amount of money and then try to change the way he plays.
“That’s what they tried to do at Chelsea and that’s why you didn’t see the best of Romelu Lukaku.
“You saw the way Lukaku plays, he plays on the shoulder of the last man, he likes the ball to come fast and early to the sides to use his pace.
“But Tuchel doesn’t want that, he wants his leader to play a bit differently and he’s not that worried about the number of goals he scores, as long as the team scores and wins.
“At the start of the season everyone was saying that Chelsea were going to be a challenge for the Premier League title, then all of a sudden Lukaku was hardly in games anymore, even though he’s so tough.”
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