x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Romelu Lukaku completes his 'dream' move to Chelsea

Belgian teenager moves to Stamford, and Villas-Boas refuses to pay over the odds for Luka Modric.

Romelu Lukaku took part in training yesterday.
Romelu Lukaku took part in training yesterday.

When Romelu Lukaku visited Stamford Bridge on a trip to London, he bought himself a Chelsea shirt with his name on the back as a souvenir.

At the time, Lukaku was already in the Anderlecht first team and was a full Belgian international. Two years later he has a new Chelsea shirt and this time he is being paid to wear it. Lukaku reminisced about that visit yesterday after the club confirmed the completion of his transfer.

"I was 16, and already playing with Anderlecht. It was just after the season finished, and I bought a shirt with my name on," he told Chelsea's website.

On the pitch, Lukaku is one of the most talked-about young forwards in European football. At 16, he finished as the top scorer in Belgium's domestic league with 15 goals as Anderlecht won the title in 2009/10.

He added another 16 last season, and with his power, pace and stature has been likened to his new Chelsea teammate, Didier Drogba. The 6ft 4ins (1.93m) youngster may one day replace the 33-year-old Ivorian but for now is intent on learning from him.

"We have similar playing styles, but I am also very fast," said Lukaku, whose father, Roger, played for Zaire.

"I want to learn off him how it is to play here at the Bridge, and how to prepare for games. I can also learn off the other strikers and experienced players in the squad."

"I dreamed to play here since I was 10 years old, thinking about shaking hands with all those players like John Terry and Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba," he added.

Lukaku's transfer had been announced on August 6 subject to his passing a medical and agreeing personal terms. He is now available for Saturday's Premier League home game against West Bromwich Albion but warns he is not the finished article yet.

He said: "I can improve everything - technique, speed, my finishing can be better. I just want to help the team to win games and first of all, for me as a young player, I need to learn from the other guys."

But after landing one of his transfer targets Andre Villas-Boas will not pay excessive money for Luka Modric.

Chelsea have been linked with a £30 million (Dh181.5m) bid before the transfer window closes and Villas-Boas said: "We have approached Tottenham before regarding the player. I don't know if it's viable or not, and to what extent we can go regarding his price because we are speaking about a high amount and nothing else basically. End of story."

With the injury to Michael Essien, Villas-Boas last week revealed he was attempting to sign two midfielders before the August 31 deadline.

And the new Chelsea boss suffered another injury blow yesterday when a training-ground accident saw Petr Cech, the goalkeeper, ruled out for up to four weeks with medial ligament damage.

"It was the end of training, normal training incident," said Villas-Boas.

"He fell awkwardly with his weight on top of him and he stretched a little bit the medial ligament.

"We expected much worse when we saw the incident."

Villas-Boas must now decide whether to start Hilario or Ross Turnbull in Saturday's Premier League game against West Brom.

A "sizeable" ransom has been demanded by the kidnappers of John Obi Mikel's father, the Chelsea midfielder's representatives confirmed yesterday.