Chelsea striker Lukaku has been welcomed back into the first team by manager Thomas Tuchel, but some fans have been voicing their concerns about the Belgian’s form
Romelu Lukaku hasn’t yet delivered the kind of goalscoring numbers some had hoped for when he joined Chelsea in a club-record deal, but Blues fans have been told not to worry too much about the Belgian.
The former Inter Milan striker cost £97.5m when he moved to Chelsea for a second time, having spent three years on the club’s books early in his career.
However, after scoring on his second debut against Arsenal, the 28-year-old has added just seven more goals in all competitions as injury, illness and a much-publicised outburst in an interview towards the end of 2021 have hampered his progress.
It is still early days, though, and former England star John Barnes has called for patience while backing Lukaku to turn things around back in west London.
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Lukaku’s performance in Chelsea’s defeat at Manchester City was one of his most underwhelming so far, while the striker was substituted on Tuesday after failing to score against Brighton, but Barnes remains unworried.
“He’s struggled in the last couple of games but he’s still had injuries and missed a few games, but it won’t be an issue,” the 58-year-old told BonusCodeBets.
“At this moment in time, Chelsea are still fighting on four fronts and Lukaku will come good again.”
Still, despite giving the striker his backing, Barnes acknowledged that further issues between Lukaku and Tuchel could lead to problems.
The manager held showdown talks with Lukaku after an interview with Italian media in which the manager’s tactics were criticised, and Barnes pointed to the problems between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mikel Arteta at Arsenal when discussing the situation at Stamford Bridge.
Aubameyang, who has returned to London after Covid and heart concerns have prevented him from featuring at the Africa Cup of Nations, has not played for the Gunners since December 6 amid a disciplinary breach that saw him stripped of the captaincy at the Emirates Stadium.
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Tuchel was Aubameyang’s manager at former club Borussia Dortmund, and Barnes stressed that Lukaku “won’t come to blows with Thomas Tuchel because Tuchel is in control”.
“They will come to blows if Lukaku thinks he is as big as the manager and thinks he can go head-to-head and battle with the manager, much like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mikel Arteta,” he said.
“Tuchel is in charge and Lukaku can turn it around.”
Lukaku has yet to score a league goal in 2022, with his last strike in the competition coming in the reverse fixture against Brighton back in December.
He was left out of the squad for the Blues’ 2-2 draw with Liverpool at the start of the month, but has started five times since, including a goalscoring contribution in the FA Cup third round victory over Chesterfield.