[인터풋볼] Reporter Oh Jong-heon = Romelo Lukaku could not solve Chelsea’s ‘Nine Curse’.
After appointing Thomas Tuchel as manager during the 2020-21 season, Chelsea achieved successful results, such as winning the UEFA Champions League. It was evaluated that the performance improved throughout the air defense, but the front line was disappointing. Timo Werner, a ‘freshman’ who had a hard time adjusting to the English stage, did not show the scoring ability as expected.
The player Chelsea chose to solve the problem was Lukaku. Lukaku was a player with outstanding scoring ability, breaking the league mark of 20 goals for two consecutive seasons with Inter Milan. Chelsea succeeded in signing Lukaku at a huge transfer fee of 113 million euros (about 155.3 billion won).
Lukaku has become Chelsea’s new ‘Nine’. After the season started, he scored three goals in the first three matches of the English Premier League (EPL) and seemed to live up to expectations. But this did not last long. Since then, Lukaku, who has not seen a goal in eight consecutive games and has had less time to play, only scored eight goals in 26 league games (16 starters, 10 substitutions).
Performance wasn’t the only issue. In an interview with Italian ‘Sky Sports’ during the season, Lukaku said in an interview with Italian ‘Sky Sports’ that he did not respect his current club, Chelsea, saying, “If I had offered to renew my contract at Inter Milan, I would have been talking to you in Milan, not London.” .
After a disappointing appearance, Lukaku pursued a return to Inter Milan immediately after the season ended. In the end, transfer market expert Fabricio Romano said on the 22nd, “Lukaku will return to Inter Milan. A rent of 8 million euros (about 11 billion won) and a bonus option paid according to the club’s performance have been inserted. There is no complete transfer option.” said.
Lukaku, who joined Chelsea with a transfer fee of over 100 billion won, could not clear the 9 curse. Chelsea had an outstanding striker named Didier Drogba in the 2000s. The 2010s saw Drogba’s successor in strikers, several of whom wore the striker’s iconic number 9, but with disappointing results.
Fernando Torres (now retired), who joined Chelsea in 2011, is a prime example. At that time, Torres’ transfer fee was 58.5 million euros (about 80.4 billion won). However, he played for Chelsea for nearly three years, scoring only 45 goals in 172 appearances. The player who received the number 9 for Torres was Radamel Falcao (now Rayo Vallecano). He played on loan for the 2015-16 season, but only scored one goal in 10 league games.
The next runner was Alvaro Morata (Juventus). Morata has been with Chelsea for about four years, starting in 2016. Morata also arrived at Chelsea with a huge transfer fee of 66 million euros (about 90.7 billion won), but achieved a poor record of 24 goals in 72 games. Gonzalo Higuain (Inter Miami), who became the final ninth lead on loan, also fell short of expectations.