New Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has revealed the shirt number he’ll wear this season, while confirming he is fit to make his second debut for the Blues against Arsenal on Sunday.
The 28-year-old arrived from Inter in a £97.5m deal in the summer transfer window, but his signing wasn’t confirmed in time to feature in the 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace on the opening day of the Premier League campaign.
He is raring to go on his return to Stamford Bridge, and speaking at a press conference ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, Lukaku declared himself fit and ready to face the Gunners.
“I’ve been training,” Lukaku confirmed. “I did a full pre-season so now I’m just trying to get to know my teammates better and I’m available if the manager wants to play me.”
“Can I say it?” he asked. “Yeah. I got the number nine. I’m very happy and fortunate to be in this situation.”
Lukaku was also asked about his conversations with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, who has been giving him advice over his style of play and improvements as a player. The former Inter man said Drogba was ‘happy’ with his developments, but there’s ‘more work to do’.
“He kept it really simple. He was really happy with the improvements I made in the last couple of seasons. He says there’s more work to do. That’s the right mindset,” he continued. “It’s about improving week in week out. The last few years have been great for myself. Now I get the chance to join a team that is hungry and ambitious.”
The forward himself believes he has become ‘a more complete player’ during his time in Italy, where he scored 47 league goals in two seasons, winning the title with Inter in his final year at the club.
“Maturity has been important,” he said.
“I’ve learned much more about myself. I’ve set higher standards. It’s about becoming more complete as a player. It’s more technical and tactical in Italy. It helped me a lot. The English game is different but it’s not something new. I can adapt myself and help the team.”
Lukaku was always asked about his memories of facing Arsenal in the past, a team he has scored five goals against throughout his career. The Chelsea star believes it’s ‘difficult to compare’ situations given the Gunners’ current state of transition, but he thinks it’ll be a ‘tough game’.
“It’s difficult to compare. They are rebuilding and, at the end of the day, I just look at my team and focus on what we have. It’s going to be a tough game but we will prepare ourselves for a battle.”