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What Antonio Rudiger did to Romelu Lukaku as ‘message sent’ to Todd Boehly during Chelsea-Wolves

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger made sure Todd Boehly noticed goalscorer Romelu Lukaku after what he did during the Wolves Premier League fixture.

 

Lukaku, 28, had and still has in future up in the air after a recent snub against Everton led to many questioning his relationship with Blues manager Thomas Tuchel. Tuchel himself never wanted to give up on Chelsea’s No. 9 and this was validated with what he said in his pre-match press conference coupled with his decision to star the Belgian in this one.

“Always, yes and yes,” Tuchel re-iterated when asked about Lukaku’s importance to the squad. “I want him to be an important part of the squad. Right now, he is a very important part of the squad next season. There is no way, no recruitment, no players about to leave because it is simply not possible. If the situation changes, we need anyway to adapt all the time to contractual situations, individual situations of the players, what we want and think, and what the development will be.

“We signed a big player, and he is still a big player. He didn’t come on (vs Everton) because we had three changes and used one. Unfortunately, I had to use one at half-time for Jorgi. Otherwise, there was a huge chance we would have had the same changes as against West Ham, where he was involved with Hakim and Pulisic to turn the game in our favour. He trained very well, and maybe he will start tomorrow. Let’s see.”

Chelsea’s manager had kept his promise as the former Inter Milan man started in a front three that also included Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic. Despite a rather ineffective first-half display from Lukaku, he did liven up significantly in the second period and it was his run which won his side a penalty after another VAR check, which this time went in the favour of the Blues amid frustrations earlier on in the contest when Ruben Loftus-Cheek had an effort ruled out.

He slotted away the penalty with aplomb to lovely celebrations from Boehly and the fans themselves, who serenaded their man with rare chants of his name which haven’t been heard for a while. In the midst of those celebrations, an animated Rudiger showed his own appreciation with what was a lovely gesture of appreciation. As well as shaking his hand, the soon to be Real Madrid man raised the hand of Lukaku in the air- perhaps an indirect transfer message to the onlooking Boehly and Tuchel who have a big transfer decision to make in the summer.

Two minutes later in the 58th minute, the man in the limelight netted his 14th goal of the season with a world-class finish after a lovely through ball from Christian Pulisic in the build-up. Those two goals themselves now have the marksmen one ahead of Kai Havertz as Chelsea’s top goalscorer this term in the Premier League.

Maybe all those transfer plans amid AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain links have to be put on the backburner as Boehly may re-assess Lukaku’s situation which could get better from now on. Was this showing a start of a revival to the Belgian’s Chelsea career?

 

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