Graeme Souness believes Chelsea can win the Premier League title if they manage to keep Romelu Lukaku fit this season.
Lukaku, 28, completed a club-record £97.5m move back to Stamford Bridge earlier this month, returning to Chelsea seven years after he left west London.
The Belgian established himself as one of Europe’s most prolific strikers after parting company from the Blues in 2014, whom he made just 15 appearances for without scoring during that first stint.
After a highly-fruitful scoring spell at Everton, Manchester United splashed £75m on his signature in 2017, but he was unable to break the 20-goal-a-season mark in the Premier League during his two years at Old Trafford, and ultimately left for Inter Milan in another lucrative deal.
Under Antonio Conte, Lukaku flourished in Serie A, finishing second only to Cristiano Ronaldo (29) last season in the Italian top-flight scoring charts (24) as Inter won their first Scudetto for over a decade, usurping perennial champions Juventus in the process.
Now back at the Bridge, Lukaku will be hoping to replicate his scoring exploits from the San Siro and make the Blues genuine title challengers, and prospect Souness believes his presence will deliver, providing the marksman remains fit.
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League encounter with Arsenal at the Emirates, in which Lukaku was handed a debut start, Souness told Sky Sports: “He looks like an old style English centre-forward but he’s anything but that.
“He can get hold of the ball, he can bring people into play. He’s got that power and that physical side as well, he can fend defenders off the ball. He can also run into the channels.
“There are no question marks about him. If Chelsea keep Lukaku fit, they can win the Premier League. I can only see him being a success at the club.”
When asked whether Lukaku is the “answer” to Chelsea’s scoring troubles from last season, in which Jorginho finished as the top scorer in the league with seven goals, Roy Keane responded: “He is.
“Chelsea, we know are rock solid at the back, but they need that striker who can get you 25 to 30 goals, and I think he is the man.”
Lukaku marked his first game back in the Premier League by breaking the deadlock in Chelsea’s London derby with Arsenal, tucking home from close range after a delightful low cross from Reece James.
Romelu Lukaku has now scored in his first league game of the season in each of the last three seasons:
⚽️ vs. Lecce
⚽️ vs. Fiorentina
⚽️ vs. Arsenal
Big Rom starting his season with a bang again. ? pic.twitter.com/e5JhFSwP0J
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 22, 2021
The European champions dismantled Crystal Palace 3-0 last week in their Premier League opener and now look intent on causing a domestic storm, hoping to rival Manchester City and Liverpool for the title, a sentiment echoed by Gary Neville, who described Lukaku as “unstoppable” during the match in north London.