Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez has backed Romelu Lukaku to thrive second time around at Chelsea and believes the ‘exceptional’ striker is the ‘perfect player’ to take Thomas Tuchel’s squad to the next level.
Chelsea are expected to complete the signing of Inter Milan centre-forward Romelu Lukaku over the coming days – in a club-record deal worth £97.5million – after giving up hope of landing top target Erling Haaland.
The 28-year-old, who scored the second most goals (24) in Serie A last season, will have enormous expectations on his shoulders given the eye-watering price tag that will follow him to Stamford Bridge.
But Martinez is confident Lukaku will not disappoint, despite the attacker’s previous underwhelming spell in west London from 2011 to 2014.
‘The valuation in the market is completely gone. It’s now about how much you are prepared to pay in the market to bring a player to a club,’ the Belgium manager told talkSPORT.
‘Chelsea is a club that is very close to his heart – he made his first move from Belgium there at a very young age.
‘I think his way of looking at it is that he wants to win titles.
‘When you bring a player who is so focused, in the best moment of his career and nearly at 100 caps with his national team – the all-time record goalscorer – it’s not about the valuation it’s about what he can bring to that team.
‘After Chelsea won the Champions League, he is the perfect player to bring the squad forward and make them better.’
Martinez feels Lukaku has taken his game to a ‘very different level’ since swapping Manchester United for Inter back in 2019.
‘Lukaku isn’t just a goalscorer, but he’s an exceptional goalscorer,’ the Spaniard added.
‘It’s always been in his DNA but now he can affect others and have a big influence in both boxes.
‘He’s taken his game to a very different level. That level is doing everything to win games and win titles.’
Antonio Rudiger waxed lyrical about his soon-to-be-team-mate when asked about the Belgian’s impending transfer earlier this week.
‘You can see the body type, he’s a beast and very strong,’ the Chelsea and Germany defender told reporters.
‘He showed that in Italy over the past two years where he did very well, and for his national team.
‘He’s a goalscorer. For me, a top striker.
‘I cannot talk about someone who isn’t a Chelsea player. I talked about his strengths and said he’s a top-class striker and someone who loves to score goals. I can’t say more than that.’
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