Abramovich stance ‘revealed’ in row over record Chelsea signing Lukaku
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has the support of owner Roman Abramovich as the club deals with unhappy record signing Romelu Lukaku, according to reports.
Lukkaku returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer, with the West Londoners paying $130 million for his transfer from Inter Milan.
Scoring seven goals in 18 appearances across all competitions, the 28-year-old hasn't had a total nightmare on the pitch.
But in an unauthorized interview with Sky Sport Italia recorded some weeks ago yet broadcast last Thursday, Lukaku complained he was "not happy" with life under Tuchel and pined for a return to the San Siro.
Despite the importance of the fixture in the Premier League title race, Lukaku was dropped by Tuchel for Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
"The thing got too big, the thing got too noisy so close to the match," Tuchel explained to Sky Sports prior to kick off. "So I decided to protect the preparation of the match, that's why he's out."
Reports on matchday claimed that he had the backing of several players for his stance, and now, according to the Daily Mail, this extends to Russian owner Abramovich too.
Simultaneously, the same paper said that a group of Chelsea stars felt the treatment of Lukaku, who is said to be shocked by the reaction to his remarks, was harsh.
But in any event, he is now meant to be ready to return to the fold after clearing the air with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia and Tuchel.
Been told Romelu Lukaku explained to Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea board that he has no intention of leaving the club in January. 🔵 #CFCAnyway, Chelsea won’t allow any discussion with other clubs over loan on permanent move. Romelu also had very good training session yesterday.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 4, 2022
Lukaku reportedly told Tuchel he wishes to stay with the Champions League winners. But while Tuchel has said he didn't personally feel attacked in spite of criticisms of his system, the manager is apparently unhappy that Lukaku allowed doubts regarding his commitment to his employers interfere with such a big match against Jurgen Klopp's men.
A comeback for Lukaku is penciled in for Wednesday's meeting with Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, and he has worked "very hard" in training on Monday according to Fabrizio Romano while Tuchel will reveal more on the topic in a prematch press conference on Tuesday.
Chelsea's cross-city rivals are of course managed by Antonio Conte, with whom Lukaku won Serie A last season, and the Italian has expressed hope that his former charge will feature.
"I think it’s always a good thing to play against a team that has all the players are available," he said.
"For the people that watch the game, I think it’s good to see the best players on the pitch."
Romelu Lukaku worked ‘very hard’ in training right after his conversation with Tuchel. He hopes to come back vs Spurs after positive talk with manager. 🔵 #CFCChelsea board told him they’re backing Tuchel position - there’s NO way for Romelu to leave in January. He’s staying. pic.twitter.com/5nNoAJploT— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 3, 2022
Amid Lukaku's strop plus Timo Werner's recovery from Covid and poor form, Tuchel has problems up top but has least been buoyed in defense.
Though Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger could all leave on free transfers ahead of next season, veteran Thiago Silva has penned a new one-year contract.
"To play here with Chelsea is a real pleasure," the 37-year-old Silva said to the club’s official website.
"I never thought I would play for three years here in this great club so I’m very happy to stay for another season. I will continue to give everything for this club and for the supporters, who have always been by my side since I arrived.
"It’s amazing to have this relationship with the fans and not only that but the players, staff and the whole club. I’m going to give everything to keep playing at this level in the most important league in the world," the Brazilian vowed.