'Not talking about Romelu': BBC pundit says Chelsea have made an even better 'signing' than Lukaku this year

Garth Crooks proclaimed that Chelsea have made a better piece of transfer business in 2021 than club-record recruit Romelu Lukaku.

In amongst his BBC Premier League Team of the Week, Crooks put Thomas Tuchel above Lukaku in terms of signing status at Stamford Bridge.

After such a blistering start to his second Chelsea spell, the striker has slumped to a new low in terms of scoring form.

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He is on a run of seven games without a goal, a streak currently halted by the Belgian’s injury sustained against Malmo two weeks ago.

Thomas the tank

On the other hand, Tuchel has avoided virtually any suffering since taking over from Frank Lampard in January.

Initially, his appointment was met with caution and uncertainty from many sections of the Chelsea community, not to mention the wider footballing family.

Released from the Paris-Saint Germain dugout to replace a club-legend, it was a combination that provoked the doubters.

Those worries have been completely wiped clean because of Tuchel’s incredible transformation of the team though.

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Chelsea are now champions of Europe and top of the Premier League, all thanks to their German coach.

His latest triumph at the helm – a 3-0 trouncing of Newcastle United on Saturday – moved the Blues three points clear at the league’s summit, after Liverpool and Manchester City’s respective results.

And Crooks waxed lyrical about the Chelsea boss after the game. He said: “As for Chelsea, their best signing of the year wasn’t even playing (versus Newcastle).

“No, I’m not talking about Romelu Lukaku, I’m talking about manager Thomas Tuchel. He has been brilliant.”

What’s been best for the Blues?

So many aspects of Tuchel’s reign have earned him the ‘brilliant’ label dished out by Crooks.

Perhaps the highest praise goes to Chelsea’s defensive overhaul under the 48-year-old.

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In 10 top-flight games this season, the Blues have conceded just three goals.

Stopping opponents is one thing, but converting past them at a consistent rate has also crept into the Champions League holder’s repertoire.

Chelsea have scored 15 times in the past four matches, all without the presence of Lukaku.  

Players from all sections of the squad are stepping up in the absence of their centre-forward, individuals holding fresh confidence installed by Tuchel.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces 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.