William Gallas Exclusive: Lukaku Interview "Wasn’t Very Clever"
Former Chelsea defender William Gallas feels Romelu Lukaku’s controversial interview was not “very clever” — but says the striker can earn forgiveness if he performs for the club. Lukaku became Chelsea’s club-record signing when he returned to West London from Inter Milan in the summer, but struggled to reclaim his starting spot after a spell out with injury. The striker then hit out at manager Thomas Tuchel and revealed his desire to return to the Nerazzurri, which Gallas believes was unnecessary.
Goals = Forgiveness
Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “[Lukaku] has put himself in a situation that he didn’t need to.
“I saw that he apologised publicly, but the people at Chelsea will only forgive if he starts performing at the level we have come to expect from him.
“Chelsea fans will not forget what he said unless he starts scoring goals and delivering match-winning performances.
“I don’t know exactly what happened, but I do know that players have to be very careful about what they say. There is so much media interest in absolutely everything.
“He said he was unhappy because he was on the bench when he felt he was fit and he spoke about the manager and his tactics.
“You have to adapt. He is a world-class player. This is a £100million player; a record transfer for the club.
“When you’re this type of player you have to adapt to any system and you have to score goals. That’s what we expect from you.
“I don’t think it was very clever for him to speak about Tuchel and his tactics. He has received his punishment and learned from it.
“The most important thing is how he responds. He has to be focused and ready for his team. He needs to start scoring goals for Chelsea.”
Gallas also discussed the future of the Blues’ rearguard, with Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen all out of contract at the end of the season.
“[Chelsea] have to try to sign at least one of [Rudiger, Azpilicueta and Christensen],” he insisted.
“If I had to choose, I would say sign Rudiger because he is the best defender out of the three.
“With Rudiger, if Chelsea can’t find an agreement, they will need to replace him with another good defender who has the quality to play in a back three or a back four.
“I am sure they are looking at potential targets at the moment. Azpi is 32 years old, so it is a little bit different because at his age he will want to play every week.
“I know what that is like. It can be hard to accept not being a first-team regular and sitting on the bench and not all players can accept it.
“I don’t know what is going on with Christensen. I don’t know if Chelsea are happy with his performances, but he’s still young.
“They didn’t extend his contract, so it looks like they are looking to replace him. It is a really difficult situation because Christensen is still young, but it’s not looking good for him to stay at the club.”
Should Rudiger indeed depart — with Real Madrid reportedly among the clubs to have taken an interest in the Germany international — Sevilla’s Jules Kounde has been touted as a possible replacement.
Gallas feels his compatriot would excel if deployed in a back three, but thinks the 23-year-old’s relative lack of height could be an issue if he were to play in a back four.
“[Kounde’s] shown he has good quality and he is very strong,” he explained.
“He can read the game very well. If he were to join Chelsea, I would be concerned about which position he would play.
“If they stick with a back three, I think he could fit into that system perfectly. If they played with a back four, maybe he would be better suited as a right-back.
“In the Premier League you have to be tall and strong, and all the clubs are looking for the tall and strong defenders.
“Jules Kounde is not tall. He’s a very powerful guy, but he’s not tall. I’m a little bit concerned about that, but as I said, if he plays in a three, he would suit that system.”