As Chelsea close in on the big money signing of Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku could once again find himself surplus to requirements. The 6’3” striker joined the Blues in 2011 after making a name from himself at R.S.C Anderlecht. Since then he’s only managed to make ten appearances for his parent club and has found himself out on loan for the last two years.
The powerful forward made his professional debut for Anderlecht at just 16. He went on to spend four years at the Jupiler Pro League side, with the highlight being the 2009/10 season. His 15 goals helped Les Mauves et Blancs to win the league title and on a personal level saw him be crowned as the top goal scorer. The young striker continued to impress the following season, and was rewarded with a move to the West London Club.
After one season in the Premier League, Roberto Di Matteo loaned the Belgium to West Bromwich Albion. Under Steve Clarke’s guidance, Lukaku became the first name on the team sheet and quickly became a fan favourite. Playing regularly gave the multi-lingual striker confidence and he soon started to recreate the form which had originally earned his move to England. After scoring 17 league goals, it was widely expected that the following season he would be an integral member of Chelsea’s squad. However, with the arrival of Jose Mourinho and a number of attacking players, including that of Samuel Eto’o, he was loaned out to Everton instead.
For a second season opposition defenders continued to struggle with his immense strength and power. With two years of experience as the main striker under his belt, it was thought that he would finally be giving his chance to lead the Chelsea line. However, it seems that Chelsea are doing what they do best, spending money instead of trusting youth.
Instead of having faith in a player who has now proved himself in the league, Roman Ambramovich has opened his cheque book with the imminent signing of Costa. Lukaku himself expects to be overlooked again. In an interview given as he prepares for the World Cup he said “You know Chelsea: every year they buy a new top striker”. He continued, “But no problem. Many clubs are interested in me.” He’s right, there are a number of potential destinations. Reports suggest that Atletico Madrid are the most likely to win the race for the former Lierse player, however a return to Everton is possible or a move to Tottenham. There are also suggestions that Juventus are considering a bid, as they feel the player would help in their bid to return to the top of European football.
Having seen Daniel Sturridge flourish after leaving Stamford Bridge, Lukaku will be hoping for a similar positive outcome for his own career should he leave SW6.