Tammy Abraham can take comfort from Romelu Lukaku’s journey as he leaves his beloved Chelsea FC

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

If Romelu Lukaku’s £97.5million move to Chelsea proves anything, it is that an early misstep does not have to be career defining — especially where Chelsea are concerned.

That should be a source of inspiration for Tammy Abraham after he finalised his £34million departure from Stamford Bridge to AS Roma today — a move he did not want, but that could be the making of him.

Not so long ago it was Lukaku in a near-identical situation — leaving his beloved Chelsea with his dreams unfulfilled, his future uncertain.

There is no shortage of irony in the fact that Jose Mourinho is offering Abraham a lifeline when he was the manager who sanctioned Lukaku’s exit to Everton seven years ago.

Back then, Diego Costa had been signed to provide the spearhead to Chelsea’s Premier League title pursuit, while the still-developing Lukaku was deemed surplus to requirements.

Now, Lukaku’s return for a club-record fee has left Abraham with nowhere to go but out.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In truth, all avenues to Thomas Tuchel’s first team had been shut long ago for the 23-year-old England international, who began the year with ambitions of heading to the Euros as Harry Kane’s understudy and scored a hat-trick in the final game of Frank Lampard’s Stamford Bridge tenure.

At that point, he was Chelsea’s leading goalscorer — a status he ultimately had to share with Timo Werner, despite making just four more starts from January to the end of the season.

That just 12 goals were as many as any Chelsea player managed in a 59-game campaign underlines the need to recruit a top-class centre-forward, but Abraham would have every right to feel he deserved more opportunities to prove he could be ‘an’ answer, if not ‘the’ answer up front.

That he has accepted his fate with such good grace reflects well on him. Not every player would have been so magnanimous in the face of a humiliating end to the season.

Of those four starts, he was twice substituted at half-time. He failed to even make the bench for the FA Cup semi-final or final, despite Tuchel being able to name 20-man squads

for each game. And he endured the ultimate snub when omitted from the 23-strong Champions League Final squad.

Abraham’s genuine joy and involvement in the celebrations in Porto afterwards served as evidence of his positive influence in the dressing room and on the training ground — and what a popular character he is among his team-mates.

It was the same again for the Super Cup in Belfast last week, when he was at least promoted to the role of non-playing substitute.

It has been a difficult seven months for Abraham, but one he has faced stoically.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

It will have been hard to take Tuchel’s treatment as anything other than personal. He is, after all, an orthodox centre-forward, with many of the qualities Chelsea’s manager was so desperate to add to his team with the signing of Lukaku.

While Tuchel experimented with a false and then converted No9 in Kai Havertz at the tail-end of last season, it is clear the German believed Chelsea’s problems in front of goal related to personnel, rather than system.

With Lukaku on board, he plans to make the Belgium striker the mainstay at the point of his attack, something not afforded to either Abraham or Olivier Giroud.

Few would dispute that Lukaku, as one of the most prolific strikers in world football, represents a significant step up in quality, but there is a palpable sense of disappointment among Chelsea fans to see Abraham go, such is his potential to develop, particularly with the benefit of watching someone like Lukaku at close quarters.

That is not going to happen now —but there are still lessons to be learned from the man who will take his No9 shirt.

Lukaku’s self-confidence and determination to forge his own path, regardless of setbacks, have taken him from a teenager dubbed ‘Baby Drogba’, to Chelsea outcast, to returning hero.

That is without taking into consideration the fanfare and ‘failure’ at Manchester United, title triumph with Inter Milan and record-breaking exploits with Belgium in between.

At 23, Abraham has much to learn.

Didier Drogba and Costa flourished under Mourinho at Chelsea and it will be fascinating to see what he has in mind for Abraham.

If the striker takes to Italian football in the manner of Lukaku, then Gareth Southgate and England may be the big winners.

And if his attitude in the most testing of circumstances in recent months is any indicator, his story at the highest level is far from over.

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