There is no avoiding the fact that Chelsea’s lack of a reliable No.9 has cost them not only a shot at a top-four finish in 2022-23, but also a place in the top-half of the Premier League table. Had Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard had a proven marksman at their disposal with which to lead the line, then maybe a German tactician would still be calling the shots at Stamford Bridge.
If a reversal in fortune is to be enjoyed next season, then finding somebody to hit the back of the net on a regular basis is a must. Todd Boehly may have to dust off his chequebook again, but he has shown a willingness to do that so far.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 3, 2022
If Chelsea are able to find a prolific presence that is capable of delivering much-needed end product in the final third, then a renaissance of sorts can be enjoyed. It will require some turnaround in order for EPL winner odds that currently have Chelsea priced at 16/1 to claim a domestic crown in 2023-24 to shorten considerably, but anything is possible at this stage.
There is plenty of transfer talk to be found regarding supposed striker targets for the summer window, and there is also a certain Romelu Lukaku to factor into the equation. The burly Belgian may have been out of sight and mind this term, having been allowed to spend the season on loan at Serie A heavyweights Inter, but he is tied to a contract in West London through to 2026.
A second stint at the Bridge for Lukaku was brought to a close just 12 months after a record-breaking £98 million deal saw him retrace steps to surroundings that had previously been departed without making much of an impact in 2014.
Big things were expected of a man with over 100 Premier League goals to his name, but only 15 efforts were recorded through 44 outings in all competitions as Tuchel determined that a big-money asset was not the right fit for his system.
Has that situation changed in the last year? Maybe not, but Chelsea are still crying out for somebody of Lukaku’s pedigree to lead them forward. With another permanent boss incoming, there is every reason to believe that a professional slate could be wiped clean.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 14, 2022
Lukaku has been hinting at an extended stay in Milan being his preference, with Inter rating their chances of keeping him at around “six out of 10”, but he will be expected back in London before any decision on his long-term future is made.
If Mauricio Pochettino, or whoever inherits the managerial reins, likes the look of what he sees – with a positive showing put in during pre-season – then Chelsea could save themselves a lot of time, effort and money in the transfer market. Lukaku may not have worked out so far, but it could still be a case of third time lucky.