Having won two European finals in three consecutive years, the current champions of Europe, Chelsea F.C. are looking to build on the previous season’s success and get their hands on more silverware.
Thomas Tuchel’s side had an impressive start to 2021, winning back-to-back trophies – the UEFA Champions League and Super Cup. They also had a great start to their 2021/22 Premier League campaign with victories over their local rivals Arsenal and Crystal Palace and a fierce draw with Liverpool.
Chelsea had a busy summer transfer window with them adding powerful reinforcements to bolster their squad. The departures of Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud, Fikayo Tomori, and Kurt Zouma have set the stage for the return of Romelu Lukaku and the signing of Saúl Ñíguez, to warrant that the Blues hit the ground running this season.
The sensational return of Romelu Lukaku to Stamford Bridge after seven years has built up a lot of excitement among the fans. The 28-year-old is in fine form, fresh off scoring a brace against Estonia in the World Cup Qualifiers. Also, the Belgian National Team’s top scorer with 66 goals in 99 caps, Lukaku hopes to continue a similar run of performances for Chelsea.
Lukaku had a dismal time at his first spell as a Chelsea player, only being able to make 15 appearances in three seasons (2011-2014) and failing to score at all.
His inability to showcase his talent led to a difficult relationship with Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea’s former Head Coach, before eventually being sold to Everton. The sale to Everton proved to be a blessing in disguise as it kick-started and turned Lukaku’s career around, turning him into a prolific and world-class striker.
After joining Everton in 2014, Lukaku earned his place as the club’s main number 9, scoring an outstanding 87 goals in 166 appearances. He found the back of the net 25 times in the 2016/17 season, just missing out on the Premier League Golden Boot to Harry Kane.
This impressive feat led to him signing for Manchester United where he went on to score 42 goals in 96 appearances. The deteriorating relations with the club led him to sign for Inter Milan in 2019.
Under Antonio Conte, Lukaku helped Inter win their first league title in 11 years, ending the season as their top scorer with 24 goals. Despite Ronaldo scoring a total of 29 goals for Juventus and being Serie A top scorer, Juventus failed to win their 10th consecutive Scudetto.
Chelsea has re-signed their star striker 10 years after he joined them initially, bringing him back to his boyhood club for a club record-breaking fee of £97.5m, eclipsing the money they splurged on Kai Havertz last year.
The forward claims that he has ‘unfinished business’ at Chelsea after his first spell at the club.
“The way the club is going fits my ambitions perfectly at 28 and just coming off winning Serie A. I think this opportunity comes at the right time, and hopefully, we can have a lot of success together.”
“Since I left Chelsea, it’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but these experiences made me strong, and the challenge is to try to help the team win some more trophies. I can’t wait to get started and to help the club achieve more success.”
Chelsea’s second signing, Saul Niguez, is also coming off after winning the Spanish title La Liga, playing a key part in beating their neighboring rivals Real Madrid to the title with two points.
Chelsea signed the 26-year-old from Atletico Madrid for a season-long loan with an option to buy at the end of the year. Niguez has played a vital role in leading his team to a La Liga title, Copa del Rey, two Europa Leagues, and the Spanish and UEFA Super Cups.
Niguez has the talent to fight for Chelsea’s midfield, which consists of arguably the most talented players at that position. Among the midfielders, Jorginho was named in the Team of the Tournament for winning the UEFA Euro 2020 with his country, Italy, and was later named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2021 for his performances in a trophy-laden year, while N’Golo Kante is a World Cup winner.
The former Atletico player adds excellent quality and squad depth to the Chelsea midfield, giving Tuchel a hard time choosing his leading lineup ahead of the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic. The recent knock received by Kante during Chelsea’s game against Liverpool could see Saul Niguez making his debut in the Blue shirt against Aston Villa on 11 September. Marina Granovskaia believes that Niguez will be loved by the fans and has the quality to take Chelsea to the top.
“We welcome Saul to the Club and believe he completes our squad as we compete for honors in five different competitions this season. He is a proven winner, a player with huge experience, and we know he will be very well-suited to the challenges that face us on all fronts in the coming year.”
Despite being favorites to win their 6th Premier League title this season, Chelsea has an uphill task ahead of them. Their fiercest rivals have also signed quality players to challenge for trophies.
Manchester United have taken the world by storm, re-signing the football superstar and serial winner Cristiano Ronaldo and further adding Jadon Sancho and Rafael Varane to their squads.
Manchester City has broken the transfer record by buying Aston Villa’s star and skipper, Jack Grealish.
The improved attack of English teams after a busy transfer business this summer has increased the competition among the teams. Despite everything, Chelsea has the highest odds at 11/4 to win the league if you bet online in the UK, which proves that most football fans are backing them to continue their fine form. Indeed, Chelsea has the quality, squad depth, and the confidence to challenge for titles and trophies again this year if they keep the right mindset and remain motivated year-round.