Mohamed Salah has already given Romelu Lukaku a target after record £98m Chelsea transfer – Football.London

The Premier League – it’s the league that has an allure that extends around the world and is arguably the toughest to conquer. There’s no predicting just what might happen.

Leicester City’s triumph in 2016 against the odds and so-called ‘big six’ went to prove it – it takes more than big bucks sometimes to get to the crown and glory. So how will Romelu Lukaku perform, back in the ruthless and exciting arena that is the Premier League?

Nearly a decade ago the player that left Chelsea no longer exists. Lukaku has evolved into not only a player who will give you goals but assists too – he directly created 10 goals during his time at Inter.

Arguably he’s playing to his strengths now and was being used correctly by Antonio Conte at the San Siro. Not merely a target man who will swiftly break forward to get the ball in the back of the net, he’s also a player that’s going to complement others.

His hold-up play will give players like Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech the time and space to run beyond the midfield areas. He’s going to get service from these players but can also return the favour.

It’s clear that the Lukaku who left Chelsea in 2014, and consequently played for both Everton and Manchester United, has levelled up his performance. Shedding the cloak of questions around his success – the numbers now do the talking for him.

He will be a scary prospect for opposition defenders, that’s for sure. Netting 64 goals in his two seasons in Italy alone, you can understand why he would have been at the top of Chelsea’s list this transfer window. He’s at the top of his game and ready to make history in the Premier League.

He will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of some other great players who returned to the Premier League and made a big impact.

Unfinished business

For a lot of players, their first experience of the Premier League may not go to plan. Leaving and playing in other leagues, several players have returned to prove to themselves and the wider footballing world that they can make their mark on the English game. Ironically, two of the most enjoyable to watch and attacking powerhouses come in the form of ex-Chelsea players.

Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)



Mohamed Salah is challenged by Mason Mount. (Image: Oli Scarff - Pool/Getty Images)
Mohamed Salah is challenged by Mason Mount. (Image: Oli Scarff – Pool/Getty Images)

It’s clear that Mohammed Salah’s time at Chelsea after his arrival from Basel in 2013 was not plain sailing. He only made 19 appearances and scored twice.

Speaking to Sky Sports he said: “I didn’t play. You can see by the numbers. I didn’t have my chance, but you can see when I did get my chance, I proved some people wrong.

“Because in my mind I have to succeed here, when I left the Premier League, I said I’d come back, and when I had the chance, I came.”

Since returning to the Premier League from Roma in 2017, he’s been a force to be reckoned with at Liverpool, winning the Premier League and Champions League while becoming one of the top attacking talents in the world. Lukaku will be hoping to follow suit.

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)



Tottenham can make life easier for themselves ahead of February's trip to Man City
Tottenham can make life easier for themselves ahead of February’s trip to Man City

Similarly to Salah, Kevin De Bruyne saw few opportunities to get game time at Chelsea. After making three appearances in his two years at the club he was sold to Wolfsburg. That lack of time on the pitch really came back to haunt Chelsea.

De Bruyne went on to impress at Wolfsburg and was brought back to the Premier League by Manchester City in 2015 for a fee of £60million. He is now rightly lauded as one of the world’s best midfielders and has created an eye-watering 78 assists at City, also scoring 48 goals.

He’s made up for the gaps in his trophy cabinets since leaving Chelsea too, winning three Premier League titles and five League Cups.

Homecoming stars

Although the idea of the ‘one club’ player may be a dying breed (especially with Lionel Messi’s controversial Barcelona exit), some football clubs just feel like home. For some it’s where they started, the young, inspired and future stars of the game who can’t resist a homecoming reunion.

Paul Pogba (Manchester United)



Paul Pogba in action for Manchester United
Paul Pogba in action for Manchester United

It was what Paul Pogba did after he left Manchester United as a 19-year-old that marked him as success. He gained attention for his performances at Juventus, where he scored 34 goals as part of a Serie A winning side that ran Barcelona close in the Champions League final in 2015. But his return was the homecoming of a youth player-turned-football star and Manchester United have a history of young blood making it to the highest ranks in football.

United signed him for a then-world record £89million. Since then, he’s won the League Cup and Europa Cup with the club – though arguably has not hit the heights he would have hoped to when sealing his move back to Old Trafford.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

At Real Madrid, Bale seemed to have won every trophy he could have possibly hoped for. He picked up two La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, four Club World Cup trophies and scored over 100 goals. He returned to Tottenham for a season-long loan in 2020, scoring 16 goals in all competitions.

Speaking to the club website he said: “It’s nice to be back. It’s such a special club to me. It’s where I made my name.”

There remains speculation over his future after his time back in north London, but whether a permanent deal could be agreed is up to the Spanish club.

Nothing to prove

These players were already legends. They did not need any more goals or trophies under their belts to put them in the hall of fame. Home is home, however, and going home one last time and playing in front of the fans that made them stars just feels like the right thing to do.

Didier Drogba (Chelsea)



Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring for Chelsea
Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring for Chelsea

At the age of 37, Blues legend Didier Drogba returned to Stamford Bridge following his exit in 2012. It was after he lifted the Champions League trophy with Chelsea in Munich – he’d won it all with the club.

Ten major trophies in total, including three Premier League titles and four FA Cup titles. He bid adieu to his time at Chelsea fittingly by winning his fourth Premier League title.

Thierry Henry (Arsenal)

It was only a brief two-month spell on loan from New York City FC that saw the return of Henry, who goes down in Arsenal history as the club’s top goal scorer.

For now, what seems an incredible bargain, he was signed from Juventus for £10.5million in 1999. He recorded a mammoth 175 goals in the Premier League and 85 assists.

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What next for Lukaku?

Most Chelsea fans will be welcoming Lukaku back home to Stamford Bridge. His time at the club when he left felt like unfinished business and seeing him play in a Manchester United shirt would have stung for some – especially with the Blues attempting to bring him back to west London in 2017.

But he’s back and as a better player – with hopefully a happier journey in the Premier League. One thing is for sure: Lukaku is coming into a side that is a fearsome team on paper.

How well will Romelu Lukaku do in the Premier this time for Chelsea? Follow our new Fan Brands Writer Renuka Odedra on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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