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Friday, April 1, 2022

Olivier Giroud 'Okocha' moment answers harsh Chelsea truth amid Thomas Tuchel transfer demand

  Romelu Lukaku has struggled to fill the void left by Olivier Giroud at Chelsea despite the £95.8m disparity between either of their sum...


Romelu Lukaku has struggled to fill the void left by Olivier Giroud at Chelsea despite the £95.8m disparity between either of their summer price tags. The latter swapped the Blues for the Rossoneri a month prior to the Belgium international returning to west London, in what was portrayed as a like-for-like upgrade.

Giroud , who cost AC Milan just £1.7m, enjoyed a tremendous vein of form during the twilight stages of his Chelsea tenure. The veteran striker's prominence in the first team unearthed the Blues' hunger for a target man.

But, having already fought against the tide of Marina Granovskaia's pressing over-30s contact policy and Thomas Tuchel looking to inject his side with new blood, the curtains were drawn on the 35-year-old's tenure. Lukaku was drafted for a record-breaking £97.5m; the Belgian was — in Tuchel's mind — a spritely heir to a fading Giroud.

Lukaku guided Inter Milan to the club's first Scudetto in 11 years, directly contributing towards 34 goals in 36 Serie A games. The 28-year-old flourished under Antonio Conte, who had partnered him alongside Lautaro Martinez in a sensational two-man attack.

But, upon joining Chelsea, Lukaku was thrown into an alien system which didn't flaunt his best attributes. While he must take some responsibility for the misfortune in front of goal, Tuchel hasn't used enough of Conte's blueprint to gauge a true reflection of the Belgian's potential.

In the summer, the Blues boss specified that he was after a Giroud-esque back-to-goal striker. Speaking just days before the Belgian's arrival , Tuchel forecasted the magnitude of Chelsea's decision to offload the Frenchman.

"He is a fantastic player but a player from Inter and with all due respect I will not talk about him," the German said. “I think with the exit from Olivier Giroud from the type of players we could use, a player used to playing with their backs to goal, whose strength is to keep possession from long balls."

Though, Lukaku quickly rebuffed Tuchel's demands and outlined what he'll bring to Chelsea instead. The miscommunication raises questions regarding the club's scouting.

"I’m quite big, everybody thinks I’m a sort of target man," the Belgian said. "Just holding up the ball and being a goal poacher. But I’ve never played that way and I hate it. "My biggest strength is that I’m dangerous when I’m facing the goal. That’s when I rarely make wrong choices."

Giroud's Jay-Jay Okocha-esque goal for France during the international break, which saw him tip- toe through South Africa's defence before finding the net, encapsulated everything that Tuchel has been demanding from Lukaku.

So, in hindsight and in light of Giroud's lavish goal that took social media by storm, Chelsea might have been better off keeping the Frenchman and spending their summer transfer allowance elsewhere — that's not ridiculous, that's not ridiculous to say that.

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