Romelu Lukaku is in line to make his second Chelsea debut against Arsenal on Sunday after the club-record signing revealed he has been given the number nine shirt.
Belgium striker Lukaku rejoined Chelsea in a £98 million ($135 million) move from Inter Milan last week. The 28-year-old missed Chelsea’s win over Crystal Palace in their Premier League opener on Saturday while he was quarantined.
But Lukaku trained with his new teammates on Wednesday in front of Chelsea fans during an open session at Stamford Bridge. He is in contention to feature in the London derby at the Emirates Stadium this weekend.
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Asked if he could face Arsenal, Lukaku told reporters: “Yeah, I’ve done a full pre-season. For now, I just want to get to know my team-mates better. “Then at the end of the day, I’m available for the manager if he wants to play me.”
The number nine shirt at Chelsea has been something of a poisoned chalice in recent years, with Gonzalo Higuain, Fernando Torres, Alvaro Morata and Radamel Falcao all enduring long goal droughts while wearing the jersey. But Lukaku jumped at the chance to take the number after the jersey was vacated when Tammy Abraham joined Roma earlier this week.
“Yes, I have the number nine. I am happy and fortunate to be in this situation,” he said.
“The dream is reality so I have to prove on the pitch. It’s time to get to work and let my performances do the talking.”
READ ALSO: Tammy Abraham Signs For AS Roma From Chelsea
Lukaku spent three years at Chelsea between 2011 and 2014, but was rarely featured before being sold to Everton.
Now, almost 10 years after arriving in west London as an unknown teenager, Lukaku has returned as one of the world’s top strikers.
His superb form, including 27 goals and 11 assists, helped Inter win Serie A last season.
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