Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel expects club-record signing Romelu Lukaku to have a “huge influence” at Stamford Bridge, but suggested his side are now favorites to win the Premier League title.
Lukaku rejoined the Blues on Thursday, costing Inter Milan an alleged £97 million (USD 135 million) fee.
The Belgian will not be available for Saturday’s league opener against Crystal Palace but Tuchel believes the 28-year-old has all the attributes to strengthen his forward line.
“We are delighted to have Romelu back at the club. We think in terms of personality, speed, power, he could be an excellent choice for us,” Tuchel said on Friday.
“He has the power to help us, the body, the experience he has, the huge impact of personality. He is a humble man at the same time, and a true team player and he cares for Chelsea.
“We felt it was worth working hard and fighting and we are happy that he is our player now.”
Chelsea were rejuvenated after Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January, rising from ninth on the table to play in the top four and winning the Champions League in May by defeating Premier League champions Manchester City in the final.
However, Tuchel said both City and Manchester United, who have also spent more than £100 million in the transfer market, should be considered favorites for the title.
“When you come in fourth, you’re not the favorite next season, we have some gaps.
“We let Liverpool pass in the last match and we have a huge margin to be close to Manchester United and Manchester City. When I look at the transfer market and the activity of City and United, I don’t see why they should be worse than last season. They improved their squad, they are stable and very strong team.
“I think we are going to be hungry and challenged first for the top four and after that we will always be hungry to challenge everybody for the best possible result.”
Lukaku’s headline-grabbing return has cast further doubts over Tammy Abraham’s future at Stamford Bridge.
Abraham has been linked with Jose Mourinho’s Roma with the club chasing the England striker.
“In the days after that we’ll see what happens, what Tammy’s wishes are and what the prospects are,” Tuchel said. “But right now the focus is for Saturday and there is no news for his condition.”