With Romelu Lukaku on the cusp of a record-breaking return to Chelsea, let’s see how Thomas Tuchel could use his new goal machine in London.
Chelsea have reportedly struck a club-record transfer deal worth €115 million (£97.5m) to re-sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan.
Should everything go to plan, the Belgian could become a Blue again this week. He has agreed on a five-year contract worth around €12-13 million net, making him the club’s highest-paid player.
Lukaku’s potential arrival is excellent news for Tuchel. The Blues boss wants a top striker as his current options are lacking. Olivier Giroud has joined AC Milan this summer, Tammy Abraham is out of favor, Michy Batshuayi could leave again soon, Timo Werner hasn’t performed to expectations, and Erling Haaland appears out of reach for a transfer.
How could they line up?
It’s safe to expect Edouard Mendy will remain Tuchel’s first-choice keeper ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga. Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, and possibly Jules Kounde – if he arrives from Sevilla – will compete for a spot in the defense.
With Achraf Hakimi at Paris Saint-Germain, Reece James could be the first-choice right-wing-back. Ben Chilwell and Marcos Alonso, meanwhile, will duke it out on the left flank.
Tuchel will also likely resort to the reliable duo Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in the middle. Then comes the tricky part, as the Chelsea manager has to decide how he fields Lukaku along with his current attacking options.
If goals are what Tuchel really wants for next season, could a 3-4-3 system be worth a shot? Lukaku could head the attack as the main man, with Werner and Hakim Ziyech on the flanks.
Tuchel has already experimented with this line up in pre-season. Werner started in the middle, Kai Havertz was on the right, and Ziyech took a spot on the left flank.
This is the formation that Tuchel used to defeat Manchester City in the Champions League final in May. The German regularly adopted this system in games, and it almost always paid off.
Out of the three options here, this is probably the safest and most reliable.
Lukaku excelled in a 3-5-2 under former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte at Inter Milan. The striker scored 64 goals in only 95 games and won Serie A’s MVP award last season. This could tempt Tuchel as he tries to find a way to accommodate all his attackers.
It won’t be easy, but Tuchel has already shown he is willing to shake things up this summer.