Lukaku returned to Stamford bridge in a £98 million move after two seasons in Italy with Internazionale where he contributed greatly to their winning the Scudetto for the first time in a decade.
However, the manner of his return to the club of his dreams did not sit well with Inter fans, and after some hiccups in his first few months back at Chelsea, Lukaku gave an earth-shattering interview that was seen as spiteful towards all that Chelsea stood for.
A little injury problem followed soon after and Lukaku, who had started his new life at Chelsea guns blazing, became unable to secure a regular starting spot in the team.
It has been a bust of a return for the man who went toe to toe with goal scoring machines Cristiano Ronaldo and Ciro Immobile in Italy, and there looks to be no end in sight to his Chelsea struggles, except he leaves the club in the summer.
Speaking to Daily Mail ahead of Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League quarter final fixture against Real Madrid, Glen Hoddle analysed Lukaku’s struggles at Chelsea and if he would be useful to Tuchel against the 13-time European champions.
“The missing piece has nothing to do with Tuchel, it’s nothing to do with how Chelsea play. He’s got to look himself in the mirror,” the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder said.
“He’s got to look at himself in the mirror and say I’ve got to get the best out of myself. He is no way near the player he was since he had that interview. Since he had that injury.
“I don’t know if he is fit enough. He doesn’t look really lean and fit to me. Maybe he’s worked on the wrong things. He may have worked hard but he may have worked on the wrong things.
“He might have done too much gym work for instance, but I don’t know. I am not privy to that.”
Lukaku doesn’t work hard for Chelsea, claims Hoddle
Hoddle also stated that Lukaku’s hardwork is lacking and that he just waits for the ball without attempting to affect the game for his side.
“He comes on and he doesn’t look like a player that is going to affect the game to me. Your substitutes, when you put them on, you want them to affect the game. You want them to have an impact on the game in a positive way.
“He doesn’t quite look that way at the moment. He’s a bit like, if the ball comes or if someone puts it on my head or if someone gives me a chance I’ll score.
“But he is not working hard enough to create space or get on the end of things. He’s got to look at himself in the mirror.”
Hoddle also opined that the interview changed a lot of things for Lukaku at Chelsea, despite his injury which he also pointed at as the reason why Tuchel found a working alternative in Kai Havertz at false 9.
“I think Havertz is a nailed-on [to start against Madrid]. I think the way he has been playing and the goals he has scored on big occasions,” Hoddle said.
“I think Havertz will play in that semi no.9 – I call him a semi no.9 because he’s not an out and out no.9, he’s more than that, he does a lot of good movement.
“I don’t think Lukaku will start in this. Lukaku might have a big say over the two legs from the bench, but he’s got to get his act together. He doesn’t look like the same player when he comes on.
“A sub can be a match winner. If you’re a centre forward too, you’re not going to go on to defend. You’re going on because you’re needed later on in the game as players are fatigued.
“For me, he has not shown enough to suggest he deserves to start. The manager needs to go ‘wow he’s looking really good, really sharp and really dangerous’.
“But he hasn’t looked in that mold. So, I think Havertz will start. I think he will go with the two little pockets.”
Hoddle also gave his opinion on Chelsea’s other struggling striker, Timo Werner. The German joined the Blues for a big sum from Red Bull Leipzig in the summer of 2020 and despite scoring double figures in all competitions in his first season, has never really looked like the player he was while at Leipzig.
He has continued to struggle this season, and like Lukaku, has been dropped to the bench in favour of other attackers.
Hoddle said Werner’s role is on the bench and will remain so in the game against Madrid. “I don’t think Werner will come into it either. Werner is quite a decent substitute to have though. He can change the dynamic of the game from the bench,” Hoddle said.