Lukaku relishing number nine shirt as he returns to Chelsea
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Romelu Lukaku has once again faced further criticism following his dry spell at Chelsea. Lukaku rejoined Chelsea from Inter Milan in the summer for a fee of around £97.5million. The Belgian initially started his second spell at Stamford Bridge strongly, scoring four goals in as many matches.
However, Lukaku has now failed to score in his last seven appearances for Chelsea in all competitions.
To make matters worse for the 28-year-old, he picked up an ankle injury in the Champions League win over Malmo in midweek which will keep him out of action for up to three weeks.
Lukaku shone during his two years in Italy with Inter Milan, helping the club win their first Scudetto in a decade last season.
However, some former Italian footballers have been less than impressed with how he has performed at Chelsea so far this season.
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The latest is former Inter defender Marco Materazzi, who says Lukaku does not have the game to excel in different leagues like former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko does.
“Romelu is a phenomenon, but only in the Italian league,” Materazzi told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Dzeko is a phenomenon with different characteristics but he remains so even if you put him in England or Spain.
“Then it is clear that at 35 you can’t take him to play on the counter attack. But when he started, in Wolfsburg he was a department alone.”
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Earlier this month, former West Ham striker Paulo Di Canio was quoted comparing Lukaku to former Spain striker Fernando Llorente.
As reported by Sky Italia, Di Canio said: “Lukaku is a functional player, he is like Llorente was in Conte’s Juve.
“Even if Lukaku is stronger than Llorente. Lukaku is functional to a certain type of game.”
Former Inter and AC Milan striker Antonio Cassano went further with his criticism.
He claimed Lukaku is not the right type of striker for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side after ex-Inter manager Antonio Conte claimed the Blues boss ‘doesn’t know how to use him properly’.
“Lukaku is struggling, he clings to the defender, and it’s his teammates who go looking for him,” Cassano said on Twitch channel BoboTV.
“Tuchel doesn’t have to learn from [Antonio] Conte how to make Lukaku play; a coach shouldn’t dare to say things like that to someone who has won what he has won.
“Tuchel, though, could take all kinds of strikers, but Lukaku has nothing to do with his idea of the game; at PSG, at Dortmund, he had different strikers.
“When you play with Conte 50 metres from the goal, it’s easy, and then playing in Italy is another thing; in England, you have animals defending; in England, he struggles because Lukaku doesn’t have that kind of characteristics.
“Chelsea are distorting themselves to get Lukaku into the game, it’s Lukaku who has to follow Chelsea’s idea, but he doesn’t have the characteristics Tuchel wants.”
But Tuchel insists he is happy with Lukaku and is confident he’ll be a success.
Speaking earlier this week, he said: “We are in the process of adapting to each other. In the very moment, my opinion is that I feel Romelu is overplayed.
“He played too many competitions over the summer, with the national team and now the Nations League. He is a fantastic athlete and such a competitive guy that he digs in deep and wants to win these things.
“For me, he does not fully enjoy without having second and third thought. For me he is overplayed a little bit. Once he finds his rhythm, things will get easier.”
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