1 PL start since Feb, unused sub twice in 2 months – 28 y/o must leave Chelsea [Opinion]

Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium by Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Romelu Lukaku was an unused substitute as Chelsea suffered a 1-0 defeat to Everton on Sunday afternoon. The Blues fell to their third defeat in six Premier League games, failing to score for the first time since January, but Thomas Tuchel opted against bringing the 28-year-old off the bench.

Instead, Mateo Kovacic, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech were introduced in the second half at Goodison Park but couldn’t swing the game in Chelsea’s favour.

Lukaku has made only one Premier League start for Chelsea since February so being on the bench won’t hurt. Not coming on against his former club will irk him, however. If the Belgian international isn’t needed when Chelsea are chasing a goal, then when will he play?

After the match, Tuchel claimed his decision was because he’d used three substitutes from having to take Jorginho off, but it’s the ultimate insult to ignore a striker when you’re losing a game. Lukaku has wanted out of Chelsea for a number of weeks now, but that will be the straw that broke the camel’s back – he’s been unused twice in as many months.

The 28-year-old re-joined Chelsea on a five-year deal from Inter Milan last summer and has gone on to make 40 appearances in all competitions, scoring 12 goals with two assists. Lukaku has scored just five times in 23 Premier League games and has been coming off the bench frequently since February.

Chelsea paid over £100m to sign the Belgian in August 2021 but now want him gone as he’s deemed surplus to requirements. What club is willing to pay a £100m transfer and £325k-per-week/£16.9m-a-year wages for an underperforming striker remains to be seen, however.

Lukaku needs to leave Chelsea this summer for the sake of his career, but he might find his options limited due to the money aspect.