Rio Ferdinand tells Chelsea boss Graham Potter to bring back Romelu Lukaku despite 103kg weight


Rio Ferdinand is convinced Romelu Lukaku can be the answer to Chelsea’s goalscoring woes and has called on Graham Potter to give the forward a second chance despite his fitness struggles.

The Belgium international was on the scoresheet for loan club Inter on Wednesday night, netting the only goal in their 1-0 first-leg win over Porto at San Siro in the Champions League last 16. Lukaku also netted against Udinese at the weekend but was named on the bench against Porto, with Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta revealing that he was ‘carrying 103kg on his shoulders’ and was not yet 100 per cent match fit.

Ferdinand was stunned by Lukaku’s weight – revealing that he played at 86 kilos – but still believes he can be a massive asset for a Chelsea side in need of a goalscorer.

‘I played at 86 kilos and I’m about 96 now,’ said the former Manchester United defender on BT Sport. ‘I spoke to him just when he signed for Chelsea, he’d left Inter and obviously left [Antonio] Conte. One of the main things that you could see that he was delighted about was his physical condition, which was driven by the manager – Conte at the time. ‘If he can get back fit again, this guy has proven he is a goalscorer, simple as that.’

He continued: ‘I think new manager, give him a chance. I think he’s got no-one in there that he obviously trusts at the moment. Aubameyang isn’t even in the European squad. This guy is just a goal machine, he just knows how to score. ‘Okay, he’s not fit, he’s carrying a bit more weight than normal – or what he’d like, and what the club would like. But he still comes on and scores two goals in the last two games.’

Fellow pundit Owen Hargreaves agreed, rubbishing suggestions his Chelsea career was over: ‘No, no chance. Especially with how much they’ve spent, and they still don’t have a centre-forward.

They’ve got a really good one, just get him fit. He’s proven, Rio’s right, his body of work shows he scores goals so why would you not try and integrate him back in the summer.’

On Lukaku’s weight, he added: ’80 for me. But, to be fair, you add five kilos to that and you’re a different player aren’t you. So to think he’s playing at 15 to 17 kilos more than Rio, I mean that is remarkable. It’s amazing that he is able to actually play! ‘When he was at his best under Conte he looked a little bit lighter and he was obviously better for it.’

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