REVEALED: Chelsea stars ‘think Romelu Lukaku wants to LEAVE’ after the fall-out from his bombshell TV interview… and boss Thomas Tuchel took input from senior players before he axed £98m striker against Liverpool
- The fallout around Romelu Lukaku’s controversial interview has escalated
- Chelsea stars ‘feel the £98m Belgian wants to leave the club’ after his comments
- Thomas Tuchel dropped him for the Liverpool game but consulted players first
- Without Lukaku, Chelsea rallied for a point in a thrilling game at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea players are reportedly convinced Romelu Lukaku wants out of Stamford Bridge after his bombshell interview revealing his unhappiness at the club, just five months after rejoining them for £98million.
The Belgian is in hot water after an unauthorised interview with Sky Italia in which he said he was not happy with his situation under boss Thomas Tuchel and stressed he wanted to return to Inter Milan.
His words got him dropped from Chelsea’s draw against Liverpool as a result.
The fallout from Lukaku’s comments has hit Chelsea hard, with the player heavily criticised by pundits and former players for his attitude – and Tuchel held crisis talks with his unsettled star on Monday.
Chelsea players ‘are convinced Romelu Lukaku wants to leave’ after his controversial interview
Blues stars ‘are surprised by his outburst and have sided with Thomas Tuchel’ on the matter
But now Lukaku’s team-mates believe he is seeking an exit from the club as tension continues to grow between himself and Tuchel, according to the Athletic.
It details how some players feel the timing of Lukaku’s comments – just before the January transfer window – cannot be a coincidence.
Tuchel made a bold decision to axe him from his matchday squad for the 2-2 draw against Liverpool, but the German appears to have the backing of the squad, the report adds, with players taken aback by his comments and none of them ‘sticking up’ for the ex-Inter Milan star.
A source told the website: ‘I was speaking to one of the players and asked him if anyone was sticking up for Lukaku. He said ‘no’. None of them can believe he’s done it.’
Thomas Tuchel consulted his senior Chelsea players before benching his star man for the game against Liverpool, including Antonio Rudiger (centre) and Cesar Azpilicueta (right)
This week Tuchel revealed he consulted four or five players before making his decision, including captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger, explaining that he wanted to ‘protect’ the squad and make everyone’s voices heard on the matter.
‘I don’t take decisions in my office just circulating around my thoughts, I take decisions for the team and I have players to listen to, hear their opinion and what they think and then I take my decisions once I hear them out,’ said Tuchel.
‘It’s not a personal thing for me to decide because of my belief, we have a squad to protect with strong beliefs and strong values.’
Chelsea’s next game is a Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against rivals Tottenham on Wednesday, with Lukaku unlikely to be involved.
After Chelsea’s draw, Tuchel was adamant the 28-year-old can come back from the fall-out
Tuchel insisted the 28-year-old can still return to his squad and said he was dropped to allow the squad to focus on the Liverpool game before fully assessing his words in the interview.
‘There were new statements and it got too big, too much noise and we lost totally the focus of the match,’ said Tuchel.
‘We wanted to protect Romelu from a rash decision because we need to speak with him, read the full interview and stay calm and not lose our heads.
‘It was simply a decision to protect the match like this. It was too much noise. This was clear he will not be in the squad.
‘But he’s our player, he will stay our player, we will always protect our player and we will.
‘I cannot tell you right now (if he can be available on Wednesday) because we need to talk and understand the situation more and on we go.’
In the interview with Sky Sport Italia, the Belgium international said: ‘Physically I am fine. But I’m not happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system.
‘I won’t give up, I’ll be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am professional – and I can’t give up now.’
He added: ‘I really, genuinely from the bottom of my heart hope to come back to Inter, not at the end of my career, but while I am still at the level to win more trophies.’