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Romelu Lukaku

'Why did you go and get him?' - Belgium assistant coach Henry questions Chelsea decision to sign £98m Lukaku

14:32 IST 23/02/2022
Romelu Lukaku main image
A man who works closely with the striker at international level does not feel he is the right fit for Thomas Tuchel's system at Stamford Bridge

Thierry Henry has questioned Chelsea's decision to sign Romelu Lukaku after seeing him dropped for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Lille.

Lukaku returned to Chelsea for a second spell at the club last summer, with the west London outfit paying a club-record fee of £98 million ($133m) to re-sign the forward from Inter.

The 28-year-old has since struggled to live up to that price tag, and produced his worst performance of the season in the Blues' 1-0 win at Crystal Palace at the weekend as he only managed seven touches of the ball in 90 minutes.

What's been said?

Tuchel took the decision to rest Lukaku for his side's 2-0 win against Lille in the first leg of their Champions League knockout stage tie, with Kai Havertz scoring the opener after being tasked with leading the line instead of the Belgian.

It has been suggested that Havertz could retain his spot when Chelsea play Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, and Henry is not sure where Lukaku goes from here.

The Arsenal legend, who helps coach the striker at international level, told CBS Sports: “Right from the start I raised a question to myself, would he fit into this team? For Rom to adapt to the way Chelsea play, it takes time, it’s not an easy one.

“Is it normal that he only has seven touches [against Palace]? No, that’s also not normal, regardless of if the coach likes you or not. That shouldn’t happen.

“They need to move forward on that but it’s a tough one to read. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how that happens in 90 minutes. But what’s the solution?

“The solution is for him to find a solution to make sure he can adapt to the way they play.

“They like to press, to be active and to change the front three. He likes to stay in the middle so it makes it very difficult for him to adapt to the situation.

“But, again, why did you go and get him?”

Lukaku's turbulent 2021-22 campaign

Lukaku said it was a "dream" for him to re-join Chelsea and that he had unfinished business at the club after his first stint on their books between 2011 and 2014.

The former Inter frontman, who has also previously played in the Premier League at Everton and Manchester United, committed to a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge but questions are already being asked over his future due to his inconsistent form.

Lukaku has hit a modest total of 10 goals in 28 appearances in all competitions so far this term, and risked the wrath of supporters when he admitted that he never wanted to leave San Siro in an ill-advised interview with the Italian media in December.

"If there had been the offer of a new contract from Inter last summer as I wanted... we would not be doing this interview from London, but quietly from Milano!" he said to Sky Italia.

Lukaku also claimed that Chelsea wasn't his first-choice next destination, adding: "There are three teams at the top level: Barcelona, Real, Bayern. All the players dream of them, that's the truth. I thought I was going to one of those clubs after Inter.

"This didn’t happen and I said: there is only one club where I can imagine myself, it's Chelsea.”

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