Tammy Abraham’s departure from Stamford Bridge has saddened some supporters whilst delighting others, but the arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for a club record £97.5 million shows that Abraham’s Chelsea career is not over, just on hold.
Since making his break through under Frank Lampard back in 2019, Abraham proved he was good enough to cut in the Premier League after earning his stripes out on loan at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa, helping the latter get back into the Premier League, scoring the winning penalty in the play-off final against Derby County and his future boss.
In his two seasons as a senior professional at Chelsea, Abraham started 37 games and scored 21 goals, which while impressive doesn’t quite tell the whole story, at times over the two seasons, Lampard needed to rely on the experience of Oliver Giroud, whilst Thomas Tuchel disregarded him altogether.
Tuchel has barely put a foot wrong during his time in SW6 so far, but his comments on the FA Cup final and his treatment of Abraham should rightly be criticised.
In Chelsea’s league opener against Crystal Palace the team were cruising to victory, supporters were back in Stamford Bridge (in an almost full capacity) for the first time in over 18 months, Tuchel knew Abraham would be leaving, he deserved at least a small cameo appearances so that Chelsea supporters could thank him for his contribution and wish him luck in his future endeavours.
Instead, he took it upon himself to walk around all four stands at the end of the game, before a picture of him leaving the ground with his suitcase in hand was circulated on social media. Abraham’s professionalism deserved better.
At Roma, with Jose Mourinho as manager, Abraham has a fantastic platform to continue his development and that first performance that included two assists suggests that Mourinho can do with Abraham what he did with Harry Kane at Tottenham and ‘help him explode’.
Taking his position and shirt number at Stamford Bridge is a man who’s career path has parallels with Abraham’s, both joined Chelsea’s first team when they weren’t quite ready, both missed a penalty in a Super Cup final and now both have played under a former Chelsea manager in Serie A.
What Abraham must do, is follow Lukaku’s example of how he improved his game technically if he is to complete the circle one day and for Chelsea to pay his buy back clause in a couple of years time.
We all saw on Sunday against Arsenal the impact of Lukaku’s ability to hold up the ball, to bring others into play and cause havoc in defensive units. Chelsea lacked a vocal point last season and many questioned why Tuchel hadn’t given Abraham that opportunity, but what we saw from Lukaku just wasn’t Abraham’s game.
Lukaku’s ability to pin a defender and then have four offensive players in Reece James, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Marcos Alonso running directly at a misplaced Arsenal defence created the space for James to get in down the right hand side to first assist Lukaku for a debut goal after 14 minutes and then score himself to put the game to bed.
We simply wouldn’t have been able to do that with Abraham, but make no mistake Lukaku has worked tirelessly to perfect that skill, a former criticism of him was that his second touch was always ten yards away from his first, now that’s not the case.
Abraham’s link up play and movement in the box still left a lot to be desired, despite positive signs of progression over his two years, it’s more a case for Chelsea that after having won the Champions League, they needed that ready made striker to help them compete for the title now, not in a few years time.
Lukaku is oven ready.
Not just technically but physically as well, Lukaku is a different animal to the one that left Chelsea, he left a boy and has returned a man and the same will happen with Abraham, it’s just a case of when that happens for him as every body develops at different rates.
So don’t question why people are watching Abraham for Roma or why people are so happy if he plays well or scores goals because he just might be Chelsea’s next number 9.