Where it really went wrong for Romelu Lukaku as deal to leave Stamford Bridge is almost confirmed - TCC View

According to Fabrizio Romano, Inter Milan are set to confirm Romelu Lukaku’s return to Italy, with the two clubs agreeing a loan fee.

While he was brought in as the £97.5m missing piece of the Chelsea puzzle, the Stamford Bridge reunion turned into a disaster.

The Belgian was often benched in the second half of the season, with Thomas Tuchel seeing his side play better football without a recognised striker.

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

But where did it all go wrong for the 29-year-old? In the prime of his career after an MVP season in Serie A, how did things not work out?

Defenders of Lukaku will point to two early season fixtures against Arsenal and Aston Villa that things could absolutely have worked out.

The Belgium international genuinely scared the international level defenders he was facing, scoring three completely different goals and convincing the footballing world that he was leading the Blues to a genuine title challenge.

However, Lukaku’s strength can very quickly turn into his weakness.

In early season games, he had defenders pinned with his back to goal, before bringing some of the more creative players into play, often leading to a big chance. The more frequently this would happen in a match, the more confidence he would have in the rest of his game.

Limiting the 29-year-old’s service from early has the opposite effect, and if he has to try harder to make an impact it inevitably limits his performance.

Injury stopped him in his tracks towards the end of 2021, however he did himself no favours by ostracising himself from supporters with his well-documented interview with Sky Italy.

On the pitch though, the aforementioned defensive switch up forced Lukaku to go the other way – not get involved at all.

The infamous league fixture at Selhurst Park. Seven touches. Social media sent into a frenzy. But was it all Lukaku’s fault?

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

His perceived lack of effort was on show, although some intelligent movement was simply not utilised by his teammates. This has not been exclusive to the Belgian, with Timo Werner also having the right to feel aggrieved at a lack of service at times.

What came in the final weeks of the season was inexcusable though, with the club record signing appearing to expect things to come to him, rather than working himself into opportunities to receive the ball like he was at the start of the season.

This response to adversity undoubtedly played into Thomas Tuchel’s decisions to cut ties with the Belgian, as the club start their search for new attackers to fill his void.

Jack is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has freelanced for The Athletic and The Sun. Jack has reported live from Premier League and Championship grounds, whilst also being published in the Non League Paper.