Romelu Lukaku has confirmed he will wear the Chelsea number nine shirt vacated by Tammy Abraham.
The 28-year-old Belgium hitman, who has returned to Stamford Bridge in a £98million deal from Inter Milan, was initially handed the number 18 jersey, but jumped at the chance to take the main striker’s shirt following Abraham’s £34million move to Roma.
And the former Everton and Manchester United forward is now excited to become the focal point of the Blues’ attack and show his leadership qualities.
“Yeah I have the number nine shirt, I’m very happy and very fortunate to be in the situation,” Lukaku said.
“Cesar Azpilicueta’s the captain, he’s been here for many years, he’s a great captain. When I was in quarantine he was already messaging me, to help about houses and things like that.
“So in terms of leaders, there are many players that have big personalities in this dressing room.
“I’m one of the players who likes to connect everybody, and make everyone feel comfortable and give them confidence, because those players deserve to be Chelsea players and they showed that last season.
“So this dressing room has a lot of personality, which is what I like.
“It’s good to be back. As a footballer, you fight to achieve your dreams. I’m here now and I can’t wait to get on the pitch and perform with my team-mates.”
Champions League winners Chelsea started the campaign with a commanding 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, and will head to Arsenal on Sunday brimming with confidence.
Lukaku’s arrival will put another spring in the step of Thomas Tuchel’s team, with the marksman confirming he is fit and ready to go at the weekend.
Belgium’s record goal-scorer spent three years at Chelsea between 2011 and 2014, and has already admitted to some unfinished business on his return to west London as a senior professional.
Now the Anderlecht product accepts he must live up to his reputation, as he realises a long-held ambition to return to the Blues.
“I’ve been training pretty much the whole pre-season,” Lukaku said.
“I’m just trying to help me and my team-mates get better, then at the end of the day I’m available for the match on Sunday.
“The dream is reality, so I just have to prove it on the pitch now.
“Now I’m here it’s time to get to work and focus on working hard.
“I already have a relationship with most of the players. I’m really happy to be here, and now we’ve got to play as a team.
“The guys are very hungry to keep winning, and training (on Tuesday) had a good intensity. Everyone wants to keep improving.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.