Three Strikers That Could Replace Lukaku at Chelsea
Romelu Lukaku left Chelsea for Inter Milan this summer, a reversal of his journey 12 months ago.
His time in London has been miserable; a lack of goals punctuated by off-field comments left him on the fringes of the Chelsea squad. He did score eight goals in 28 Premier League matches, finishing with 15 from 45 games, but it wasn’t the sort of return Chelsea expected from their £97.5m striker. Much of the problem was Chelsea failed to utilise the player in a manner which fitted his strengths, and that’s why he’s back in Milan this season, with a loan fee of just £6.9m.
The player will likely be happy; he alluded to never wanting a move to London in press comments, for which Marca reported he was fined £325,000. He criticised the manager’s tactics and the club situation and said he wanted to return to Inter. He’s got his wish, but it leaves a gap for the Blues to fill. Another big-money striker, Timo Werner, has failed to help them push on, and they’re behind Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs in the latest Coral Premier League odds. They need someone to spearhead the attack, to put some goals at the top end of Tuchel’s team. But, who fits the bill? Who can help them get ahead of Spurs and be classed as London’s top team?
Here are three suggestions.
Twelve months ago, Schick was making waves with the Czech Republic, scoring a wonder goal at Euro 2020 and eventually winning the Golden Boot. He followed that up with 24 goals in 27 Bundesliga games last season and is unlikely to move this season.
That could work in Chelsea’s favour. If Lukaku has a good year in Milan, his value will increase, potentially creating funds that tempt Leverkusen to part with their star man. He’d fit Tuchel’s system; he can hold the ball up, he’s good in the air, and can drift out wide if required, which is where he’d fit the manager’s fluid style.
Martinez started his career as a central defender but later converted to a central striker and cited former Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao as one of his heroes. He’s a scorer; 74 goals in 180 games for Inter Milan has proven that, and he’s surprisingly strong and good in the air given his height, 5ft 9in.
He’s been the talk of Europe for some time, with several clubs coveting his signature. He’s unlikely to move this summer; he’s stated he wants to remain in Italy for the 2022/23 season, which means Chelsea would be bridging the gap in the meantime, but when he is available, he would suit them much better than Lukaku.
Scamacca is a relative unknown for many supporters of the three we’ve chosen. He plays in Serie A for Sassuolo, but he has some pedigree. He was with Lazio, Roma and PSV as a youth before signing for the Italian side in 2017. He’s progressed well there, with loans at Cremonese and Ascoli in Series B before a spell with Genoa in Serie A. Last season, he scored 16 times in 36 top flight appearances, and he’s a player on the rise.
He’s tall, 6ft 5in, so he’d deliver the same attacking threat as Lukaku from crosses, but he’s also a strong finisher. He’s only 23, so he could be an investment for the future, and he’s already got seven caps for Italy. He’d be one to watch for sure, and he’s likely to be tempted by a move to a top European club.