Premier League legend Ashley Cole believes that Romelu Lukaku has the ability and desire to become a Chelsea great like Didier Drogba, but needs time to hit that level. The former Blues star added that he loves the business the club have done, as well as the way they’ve incorporated their academy.
Following his club record £98 million move to Chelsea, the pressure has been on Romelu Lukaku’s shoulders and the Belgian has delivered in sensational fashion. A goal on his second debut followed by two in as many appearances for the Blues has seen Lukaku leap into the deep end and survive at comfortable ease on his return back to England. That has come despite many being skeptical about the move for the Belgian but he has settled nerves and his critics very quickly.
It has made Chelsea favourites for the Premier League title although many believe that Lukaku has yet to prove himself for the Blues. However, Ashley Cole believes that the Belgian can emulate Didier Drogba not just on the field but off it as well even if he added that Lukaku needs time to reach that level. But Cole also confessed that the 28-year-old has the mind-set and fire to prove himself which will help his case.
“For sure, they are similar. It’s not just what he brings on the pitch, either. I think Lukaku has learned a lot from Didier in terms of his presence off the pitch. By all accounts he is a bit of a leader in the dressing room and that’s Didier. Didier was a born leader, a real man’s man. Everyone loved him. We talk about [John] Terry and [Frank] Lampard being leaders in that dressing room, but Drogba was every bit as much a leader as them," Cole told Goal.
"Lukaku is of that ilk. He’s got a little way to go before he can be put in that bracket, for me, but he’s certainly got the ability to get there. And he’s got a great mindset, a bit of fire in his belly because he wants to prove himself at Chelsea the second time around."
While adding Romelu Lukaku this summer, alongside Saul Niguez, has definitely made Chelsea one of the favourites for the league title, the business they did last summer has also helped. Adding the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Edouard Mendy and a few others to their squad alongside the catalogue of young talent, has helped improve the club. It saw Cole admit that he loves “the business” the club have done, not just this summer but over the last few years.
“I love the business they have done. What Tuchel has done last season, the squad looked so strong anyway, but you’ve got to give credit to Marina [Granovskaia, the Blues' chief executive] and the team for the way they’ve gone out and got the right players in. They’ve made a profit, and signed one of the top three centre-forwards in the world in Lukaku. That’s incredible.
“The academy is flourishing. They’re sending out Conor Gallagher, Tino Anjorin and Billy Gilmour on loan! Do you know what I mean?! Those three players walk into most Premier League sides. As an ex-player, it’s the easiest thing in the world to talk about Chelsea right now.
“They are flying. Even the image of the club has changed, the business model is working, they’re winning trophies and everyone is happy and content. A lot of people are doing a lot of good things at the club,” he further said.