Romelu Lukaku has signed for Everton for a club record fee of 35 million euros, penning a five-year contract with the Toffees. It brings an end to a spell with Chelsea full of hope, promise, but ultimately frustration.
As a young boy and teenager Lukaku idolised a certain Didier Drogba, and after signing for Chelsea in August of 2011, his hope was to emulate his hero’s exploits at Stamford Bridge. But, unfortunately, the Belgian was never really given a chance at the Blues, and after being loaned-out to Everton last season, there were mutterings that his time at Chelsea was up.
It is a real shame that the Chelsea faithful never witnessed at first hand Lukaku playing at the top of his game. At his best, Lukaku is outstanding. His strength, eye for goal and athleticism make him unplayable. The young Belgian is a player in the mould of Drogba, a player of similar proportions. Drogba could well have played the role of mentor with Lukaku this season, guiding him into a more developed, mature centre-forward. He could have helped to take Lukaku’s game to the next level.
The simple and frustrating fact is that Jose Mourinho never fancied Lukaku from the moment the Portuguese returned to West London last June. This is Mourinho’s exasperating nature as a manager. If he doesn’t fancy a player there is little anybody, or anything, can do to alter his mind. Just look at his treatment of Juan Mata last season. Lukaku’s penalty miss in the 2013 UEFA Super Cup final was – at least in Mourinho’s mind – the final nail in the coffin.
Despite a fantastic campaign with Everton last season in which he scored fifteen league goals – more than any Chelsea player – Mourinho was still not convinced.
Mourinho said yesterday: “The thinking was, first of all, the fact that Romelu was always very clear with us that in his mentality and his approach he was not highly motivated to come to a competitive situation at Chelsea. He wanted to play for Chelsea but clearly only as the first choice striker – and at a club of our dimension it’s very difficult to promise a player that status.”
I personally find this hard to believe. Chelsea were Lukaku’s boyhood club. Why would he reject playing for them, even if he wasn’t guaranteed to be the absolute first choice striker? Did he sulk when he was left out of the Belgium starting line-up against the USA in the World Cup? No, he came off the bench and scored the winning goal to give Belgium victory. As per expectations of Fruityreels.co.uk, Belgium reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Essentially I feel that this transfer was engineered due to Mourinho’s unwillingness to give Lukaku a proper chance at the club. Just why Mourinho came to this position is unclear. Perhaps it was a disagreement between the pair, or perhaps Mourinho just came to the conclusion that Lukaku was not good enough to be a Chelsea player. Whatever the reason, the sale of Lukaku is a shame for Chelsea as a club. A young player of such exceptional talent and potential should have been given more opportunities to prove himself at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately it appears unlikely that we will ever see this boyhood Chelsea fan put on a Chelsea shirt again.