Romelu Lukaku will clearly strengthen aspects of Chelsea’s game, but they could also lose attributes Timo Werner gave them last season – particularly the way he stretched defences with his runs behind the back line.
If Thomas Tuchel plays with one main centre forward, Lukaku is the better option. But the manager may be able to find a way of utilising the strengths of both players as split strikers.
I’ve seen Lukaku flourish in big tournaments for Belgium playing up front with Eden Hazard, with Kevin de Bruyne playing off them as a No 10. I was in Russia when they beat Brazil using that system and it was successful against Denmark in the recent Euros.
Romelu Lukaku is a fine signing at Chelsea but may see them lose attributes from Timo Werner
Chelsea have the personnel to make that work, which is bad news for the oafish supporter who grabbed the microphone last week and demanded Werner leave the club. Imagine a system where Lukaku and Werner worked as a partnership, with Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz or Mason Mount playing the De Bruyne role.
Lukaku’s arrival from Inter Milan is a big statement by Chelsea. It adds another string to their attacking bow and I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two forwards left. I can’t see how you keep them all happy.
The big question is whether Lukaku on his own can tip the title odds in Chelsea’s favour ahead of Manchester City or Liverpool.
The arrival of Lukaku is a big statement and adds yet another string to the attacking bow there
I think it’s a huge call for one signing to decide the league title and I’d still have Chelsea marginally behind the past two winners but it will allow Tuchel to take a few more risks in games and play on the front foot.
It strengthens his options and I am looking forward to seeing an even better Lukaku than the one who left Manchester United. At Inter Milan he seems to have increased in confidence and improved his fitness and tactical nous.
He seems to be a player who thrives on being pushed and attention to detail. Antonio Conte worked with him in Italy to get himself in the best physical shape possible.
I thought at Everton when Lukaku had bad spells during a game, it was because he was tired.
The big question is whether Lukaku alone is enough to tilt the title balance in Chelsea’s favour
When you are that big and strong it’s harder to maintain peak stamina. But he’s altered his diet, lost some weight and benefited.
Conte used to film his training sessions so he could show Lukaku how to get better.
That would drive some players mad but to Lukaku’s credit, he embraced it. It’s a brilliant signing for Chelsea buut I would still like to see how the team evolves before I predict it will make them champions this season.
MY U-TURN ON TUCHEL
Thomas Tuchel has grown on me. When he arrived, my perception of him was based on what I’d read about his man-management rather than what I had witnessed.
And if I am brutally honest, part of me wanted him to fail because of my affinity with Frank Lampard and Jody Morris, who were unlucky to be moved on. What Tuchel has achieved, finishing in the top four and winning the Champions League, has given validity to Roman Abramovich’s decision.
I thought Tuchel started off on the wrong foot by substituting the substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi, which I saw as down to the manager’s ego.
Thomas Tuchel has grown on me, and I’ll admit that part of me wanted him to fail at Chelsea
But the more the German has spoken, the more I like him.He is tactically very clever. He nailed down a system last season and every player knew what his job was.
In a short space of time, that takes a high level of coaching and leadership. Some managers would get deflated by a bad result or performance but Tuchel knew what he wanted and hammered the message in training so players understood.
That’s a coach who is really single-minded and you have to admire the attitude that if he’s going to fail, he is going to fail his way. It might upset a few players along the way, but it’s been good for Chelsea.
Man-management is a tough balancing act because different players react in different ways. Lukaku thrived on the tough love that Conte gave him at Inter, so you imagine he’ll buy into Tuchel’s methods.
Tuchel is tactically very clever and has vindicated Roman Abramovich’s decision to hire him
For younger players like Hudson-Odoi, I might have done things differently. But the fact is Tuchel won the Champions League.
There are still large hurdles for him to jump over. Their attacking talent makes even Manchester City’s frontline options look scarce!
But some of them won’t be playing regularly, keeping Lukaku, Mount, Havertz, Ziyech, Pulisic, Werner and Hudson-Odoi all happy is a massive challenge. Maybe one or two of those will go.
Aaron Ramsdale is decent with his feet. He is also a relatively young goalkeeper who is still learning.
I am surprised, given Arsenal’s limited budget, that they have invested in a goalkeeper because you’d have thought Bernd Leno was going to be their No 1.
Maybe priority should have been given to other areas of the team. It was only a year ago that they let Emiliano Martinez join Aston Villa.
Ramsdale may go straight into the first team because £30m is a significant outlay – but it wasn’t a deal I would have put top of my to-do list.
It was a surprise to see Arsenal sign Aaron Ramsdale – their priority could have been elsewhere
WHITE NEEDS THE RIGHT PARTNER
I named Ben White as one of my 10 players to watch this season. The Brentford game was a tough debut, no doubt, but despite the criticism he and Arsenal have received,
I think he will be fine physically. He’s not just a footballing centre half but someone who will battle.
On the night, Arsenal got taken by surprise. They were away to a newly-promoted team with two really hungry and strong forwards.
Ben White endured a tough Arsenal debut in the loss at Brentford but he will be fine physically
It was a poor performance but they were without Aubameyang, Lacazette and Partey and Saka was only ready for the bench. It would be foolish to judge them on one game. I also think White’s partner Pablo Mari is a footballing defender. I think Gabriel, who was injured, is more aggressive.
He and White can form a good partnership and – given Mikel Arteta’s best moments as Arsenal manager have come playing a back three – you add Rob Holding to the mix and they can form a pretty strong trio.
It was a below-par showing against Brentford so you can understand all the doom and gloom. They’d have preferred an easier game next than Chelsea but Arteta will have a stronger line-up available.