Romelu Lukaku has emerged as Chelsea’s primary transfer target this summer, with attempts to sign Achraf Hakimi and Erling Haaland failing to materialise.
The latter in particular was deemed to be the main addition required for the Blues to become potential Premier League title favourites this season, but a switch has proved to be difficult to negotiate.
Borussia Dortmund have maintained their stance regarding Haaland; he is not for sale and won’t be attainable for at least another year, forcing Chelsea to chase Lukaku.
The former Blues striker has evolved since his departure from Stamford Bridge in 2014, becoming a player who offers comparable perks to Haaland on the field.
The two strikers are similar in their unique ability to merge power and speed, with both players possessing valuable physical strengths.
The duo both stand around 6-foot-4 and they are strong enough to hold off defenders and occupy defensive lines almost single-handedly, but while also having enough pace to threaten in behind.
Lukaku and Haaland are extremely well-rounded, the pair of strikers are just as dangerous when fed by through balls compared to when they are getting on the end of crosses.
The Norwegian striker has a notable edge due to his age – as he’s seven years younger – but many seem to be overlooking what Lukaku offers in possession.
Unlike many strikers, the Belgian international offers a considerable amount when it comes to moving the ball for his team, as opposed to solely finding the back of the net.
Last season based on league competition, Lukaku averaged twice as many progressive passes than Haaland on a per-90 basis, and that was also the case for finding the penalty box with passes.
Moreover, Lukaku averaged 1.6 key passes per 90 in Serie A compared to Haaland’s 0.9 in the Bundesliga, with a key pass defined as one that directly leads to a shot.
Over the course of the campaign, Lukaku assisted 50 shots for his teammates while Haaland provided just 23, although the former did spend around 400 minutes longer on the pitch.
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He also carried and dribbled with the ball at his feet more often, as well as averaging 12.1 progressive passes received per 90 – against Haaland’s 8.3 – which could offer an insight into his ability to offer a channel into dangerous areas.
The Dortmund man is surrounded by hype at the moment and rightly so given his emergence as the next big thing, but in terms of contributing across several areas, Lukaku seems to offer more right now.
Haaland has time on his side which is perhaps why Chelsea rank him at the top of their shortlist, but it could be argued that Lukaku is more readymade to deliver the silverware that Thomas Tuchel wants.