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New Chelsea signing Romelu Lukaku will train with his Chelsea team-mates for the first time on Tuesday, as he has now been confirmed as a Chelsea player after a quarantine period following his club-record £97.5m move from Inter Milan.
The Belgian said in an official interview with the club that a lot has changed at Stamford Bridge since he left the place. Not only in infrastructure, a lot has also changed in the playing squad as well.
Lukaku was a Chelsea player for three years between 2011 and 2014, before sealing a move to Everton in 2014.
Lukaku will come back to find out that the bulk of the players he knew at the time have left the club, with only Cesar Azpilicueta and (probably) Kurt Zouma left from his time. The likes of David Luiz, Willian and Eden Hazard sealed an exit in recent years.
Azpilicueta joined the club from Marseille back in 2012, one year after Lukaku signed from Anderlecht. The Spaniard is now captain of the club with over 400 appearances for the club.
Zouma joined Chelsea for £12 million in January 2014, few months before Lukaku’s departure from the club. Lukaku was on loan at the time to Everton, and Zouma would eventually stay with Saint-Étienne on loan until the end of the season. At most, Lukaku and Zouma would have met in pre-season.
The rest of the playing squad would be new to Lukaku, apart from the academy graduates like Andreas Christensen who’s three years younger than the Belgian. Mason Mount, Reece James, Trevoh Chalobah and Callum Hudson-Odoi were very young in the academy at the time when Lukaku was signed as an 18-year-old.
Having been signed as a young player, Chelsea is seen as a home for Lukaku, hence his second coming has been themed as a homecoming for him. Lukaku understands the passion for the club especially knowing that he first came as a young player and recently revealed how emotional he was when Trevoh Chalobah scored against Crystal Palace.
“I was speaking with Nate the other day after his brother scored,” Lukaku told Chelsea’s in-house media team in a video released on Monday.
“I got so emotional when his brother scored man. It got to me.
“Because Nate, his older brother, really embraced me when I came [in 2011] because we are like one year apart and he really took his time to show me around London and stuff.
“When his brother scored, it was too much.”