Gary Neville: Romelu Lukaku makes Chelsea 'serious title challengers'

Gary Neville insists Romelu Lukaku makes Chelsea ‘serious title challengers’ and is ‘that piece of the jigsaw’ the Blues need to win the league as £98m man makes first start at Arsenal

  • Chelsea missed a central figurehead up front at times across the last campaign
  • But they splashed out a huge sum to sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan 
  • The Belgian starts against Arsenal on Sunday to make his second Chelsea debut
  • And ex-Manchester United defender Neville believes he suits Chelsea perfectly

Gary Neville has insisted striker Romelu Lukaku makes Chelsea ‘serious title challengers’ as the £98million summer signing makes his first start against Arsenal. 

The Blues bought former player Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge from Inter Milan earlier this month for a near-nine figure fee.

And Neville believes the Belgian forward is exactly ‘that piece of the jigsaw’ the club needs for a Premier League title push, shortly before his second Chelsea debut, in a London derby at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.

Gary Neville said Chelsea signing Romelu Lukaku (above) makes them serious title challengers

The Blues splashed out on the Belgian striker for £98million from Inter Milan earlier in August

He said: ‘I do expect him to play. There’d be no reason for him not to – I know Chelsea had a good result last week but the quicker they get him into the team and get him running, then it’ll be a really strong Chelsea team. Stronger than the one we’ve already seen at the end of last season. 

‘He’s an absolute guarantee (of goals) for Chelsea. I said a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t think Pep Guardiola would sign him – who needs a centre forward – I don’t think Jurgen Klopp would sign him, I’m not sure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would ever sign him again because of what happened last time.

‘But he’s perfect for Chelsea. Absolute guarantee. 80 goals in the last two seasons [64], I just think historically with (Diego) Costa, with Didier Drogba, they’ve always had a great single striker and I think Lukaku is a great single striker.

And Neville insisted Lukaku would be ‘that piece of the jigsaw’ Chelsea need for a title push

‘He’ll take the pressure off those ones around, those supplementary players, that are really talented but don’t really carry the 25-30 goals the team need and I think that he makes Chelsea serious title challengers so I do feel as though he is that piece of the jigsaw that Chelsea needed.’

The 28-year-old, who signed a five-year contract with the club, was named in manager Thomas Tuchel’s starting line-up against the Gunners. 

Last season’s signings Kai Havertz (£62m) and Timo Werner (£48m), perhaps more naturally attacking midfielders or wide forwards rather than central strikers, led the line last season but Lukaku is highly likely to take that role this campaign. 

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