Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel will read the riot act to outspoken striker Romelu Lukaku – and has told the £97.5million striker: ‘You are going nowhere.’ Lukaku claimed he was unhappy at Chelsea and was thinking of returning to Inter Milan, who he left in the summer to return to Stamford Bridge.
Sources close to Lukaku insist there is “zero chance” of him leaving Chelsea – but on Friday night the Belgian international said that if Inter had offered him a new deal he would have stayed – and that in the summer he thought he would be going to one of three teams at “top level” Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. Only when those moves did not happen did he returned to Chelsea, who he had left in 2014.
Lukaku’s new comments will further anger Chelsea, and he could face disciplinary action. Tuchel, whose side face Liverpool on Sunday, said of the prospect of Lukaku leaving in January: “That is clearly not my object.
“We will have talks. We will do it behind closed doors, and openly, like the relationship is and has always been.”
But he added: “If you are a big and experienced player like Romelu, he should know what kind of value it has when he speaks out. It is unhelpful.”
Lukaku though last night stated that if Inter had handed him a new deal and kept their top players: “I would have stayed 100 per cent. I didn’t think about going to Chelsea until they came with an offer.
“There are three teams at top level: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich. I thought I was going to one of those. This didn’t happen and I said: there is only one club where I can imagine myself, Chelsea.”
The Belgium striker said: “Tuchel and I are trying to find a tactical system where we can “find” each other. I keep working. I’ll speak with Tuchel. I believe the manager can play me more but I respect his choices. I have to wait for my moment.”
At any time of the year, the visit of Liverpool to Stamford Bridge signals a cranking up of the tension, the expectation in the season. But the arrival of Jurgen Klopp’s team to west London will signal the kick off of a pivotal game in the 2021-22 Premier League campaign.
With Manchester City already eight points ahead of Chelsea in the race for the title and a further point away from Liverpool, defeat for either side at Stamford Bridge is unthinkable. It will signal quite probably the end of their challenge this season, just as the New Year gets underway.
So it was just the worst time for Chelsea manager Tuchel’s star striker Lukaku to bleat that he is unhappy at the club, at the system the team is playing, and that he is thinking he could go back to Inter.
But the message that came down to Lukaku from the under pressure Tuchel was stark, uncompromising, and utterly brutal. The problem is yours, not mine – get your head down and work.
“Now it seems we benched him because other players suited our style of playing better? But Romelu played when he came, then got injured, then caught Covid, and when he came back, he played with no training at Aston Villa and no training against Brighton. That’s why I’m surprised.
“There is absolutely zero going on. I don’t need to understand why he did it. It does not make it better, but that is my situation. I don’t like it, because it brings noise we don’t need. It is not helpful. If there is something, it should be behind closed doors.
“I don’t feel him unhappy. I feel the exact opposite – but I am the wrong person to ask
“It is not necessary for the dressing room to be always in harmony to be successful. We don’t have to hug each other every day. Sometimes it’s good to be on the edge, to be a bit in disharmony.”
And the Chelsea manager added: “How do we get the best out of Romelu? Training, training, playing. Training, playing, training, sleeping, eating good, training, playing, sleeping, eat good, drink a lot of water, sleep, train – and don’t give interviews.
“He said we changed the system. You will find not a lot of system changes, if you find any. End of discussion.”