Romelu Lukaku is in line to return to Chelsea’s squad after holding productive talks with Thomas Tuchel over the striker’s controversial interview.
Tuchel is expected to restore Lukaku to his side when Chelsea host Tottenham in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday after the £97.5m forward expressed regret over going public with his unhappiness about life at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian was left out entirely against Liverpool on Sunday, but he trained with the first team before holding talks with his manager on Monday and there is a desire on all sides to move on from the episode
It is understood that Marina Granovskaia, the powerful Chelsea director, was involved in helping Lukaku and Tuchel clear the air. Tuchel had the backing of the club’s hierarchy and his squad when he decided to drop Chelsea’s record signing against Liverpool. Sources close to Lukaku hope that he offers a public apology over his comments.
Chelsea fans were left fuming after Lukaku questioned Tuchel’s system and said that he hopes to return to Internazionale one day in an unauthorised interview with Sky Italia last week.
The 28-year-old has no intention of leaving Stamford Bridge, but Tuchel was unimpressed with his actions. Tuchel said that he did not feel personally attacked, but the German is believed to be unhappy that Lukaku allowed doubts over his commitment to Chelsea to bubble up before a huge game against Liverpool.
The Tottenham manager, Antonio Conte, said he hoped Lukaku, with whom he won Serie A at Internazionale last season, would play.
“I think it’s always a good thing to play against a team that has all the players are available,” he said. “For the people that watch the game, I think it’s good to see the best players on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Thiago Silva has eased Chelsea’s defensive concerns after signing a one-year contract extension.
Thomas Tuchel is facing the prospect of having to reshape his defence in the summer, with César Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger out of contract. Chelsea are yet to agree extensions with the trio but there has never been any prospect of Silva leaving the club on a free
Tuchel values Silva’s leadership and will be happy to have the 37‑year‑old for another season. The Brazil centre-back, who has impressed since joining on a free from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2020, helped Chelsea to win the Champions League last season and hopes to go to the World Cup this year.
“To play here with Chelsea is a real pleasure,” Silva told the club’s website. “I never thought I would play for three years here in this great club so I’m very happy to stay for another season. I will continue to give everything for this club and for the supporters, who have always been by my side since I arrived.
“It’s amazing to have this relationship with the fans and not only that but the players, staff and the whole club. I’m going to give everything to keep playing at this level in the most important league in the world.”
Chelsea are aware that Azpilicueta, Christensen and Rüdiger can negotiate pre-contract agreements with foreign clubs now. Real Madrid are leading the race to sign Rüdiger, who is not satisfied with Chelsea’s offer of £140,000 a week. The Germany centre-back is also of interest to Bayern Munich, Juventus and PSG.
Tuchel recently revealed frustration at the uncertainty over Christensen, who has twice changed his mind after agreeing new deals. Barcelona are interested in Azpilicueta but it is understood that the captain will stay if given a suitable offer
Chelsea have mounting injury problems before the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham on Wednesday. The defender Trevoh Chalobah went off with a hamstring injury in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday and is awaiting the results of a scan.
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