Kevin de Bruyne says player who could leave Chelsea is a real handful

Kevin De Bruyne says it’s always obvious when Chelsea expat Romelu Lukaku is on the field of play.

Speaking ahead of Belgium’s next World Cup game, De Bruyne mentioned that the struggling striker has a real authority whenever he’s available to play.

Lukaku’s once threatening figure has been nothing but a shadow in the past 12 months or so.

His muscular frame might remain, but the strength to frighten defenders has diminished remarkably.

Photo by Shaun Botterill – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

The 29-year-old’s demise can be traced back to near the beginning of his second stint at Chelsea.

He returned to Stamford Bridge last season with major fanfare following his record-breaking move from Inter Milan.

All the bells and whistles that accompanied the transfer continued to ring, after he scored four times in his first four matches.

Sadly for Lukaku, that’s pretty much as good as it good in a blue jersey.

He suffered a major goal drought either side of the injury that side-lined him for a month.

In the midst of the mayhem was the Belgian’s controversial interview with Italian media, where he declared his love for Inter and seemingly criticised Thomas Tuchel’s tactics.

Lukaku the big loser

Lukaku could never quite recover from the injury absence, nor the emotional wounds of talking out against Tuchel.

He was loaned back to the San Siro in a sudden turn of events in the summer, in an attempt to relight his doused flame.

Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

But the attacker has only been drowned in more problems.

A hamstring issue has reduced Lukaku to only five appearances for Inter, which put his World Cup dreams at risk.

Roberto Martinez decided to take a punt and include the number nine in his squad for Qatar.

Belgium’s opening triumph over Canada was too soon for the stricken player, as might tomorrow’s meeting with Morocco.  

Lukaku looks for World Cup redemption

“I don’t know how he is. He trained with us and also apart in these days,” explained De Bruyne on his compatriot’s current status.

“I have to admit that he is a player who helps the team a lot, you can feel his presence on the pitch.

“I don’t even know if he will be there against Morocco, but if he were to start from the bench, he would be an extra weapon in the game in progress.”

The World Cup may be Lukaku’s last chance to persuade Chelsea not to let him go permanently.

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Todd Boehly is reportedly ready to sell the expensive purchase made by his predecessor, Roman Abramovich.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."