On The Ball

Romelu Lukaku has become Chelsea's conundrum

Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring Chelsea' first goal during the match against Brighton and Hove Albion in London on Dec 29, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

It seemed one of the best weeks of Romelu Lukaku's interrupted Chelsea career. He had finally scored in back-to-back league games. He had illustrated the importance of picking a striker. And then came an interview, recorded earlier this month but belatedly broadcast. "I'm not happy with the situation at Chelsea," he said, talking of returning to Inter Milan one day and complaining about Thomas Tuchel's system.

Tuchel pronounced himself surprised by those "not helpful" comments. Had those sentiments been conveyed privately, however, it may not have been a shock. Lukaku was the £98 million (S$178.7 million) man designed to fire them to the title, just as he did for Inter. Plan B, when Chelsea could not recruit Erling Braut Haaland, became Plan C, when it felt Tuchel's preferred side did not include Lukaku.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.