When Romelu Lukaku finally left the Blues on a permanent basis back in 2014, after consecutive seasons spent out on loan at the Hawthorns and Goodison Park respectively, most commended Chelsea for their impressive ability to source £28million for a bit-part player at best.
Jose Mourinho had just landed himself the ever controversial and thought-provoking Diego Costa to do the business up top for his side – and as the Blues dominated the Premier League last season with the former Atletico Madrid man consistently patrolling their front line – the enigmatic Chelsea boss looked as if he’d made the right call in swapping Lukaku for the Brazilian-born Spanish international.
However, when we take an analytical look at how bad a state the West London club currently find themselves in, Chelsea really could do with a player of Romelu Lukaku’s talents right about now. The Belgian front-man symbolizes a physically stronger asset all-round, someone who arguably goes down as a superior finisher than Diego Costa with all things considered – as well as a player currently operating with the peak years of his career still firmly ahead of him.
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In light of all the recent negativity to afflict the Blues this season, did the current Chelsea manager make the right call in letting the up and coming striker move to Goodison Park in the end, or does the loss of Romelu Lukaku simply represent Jose Mourinho’s biggest mistake with the Blues since being back at Stamford Bridge?
Well, as much as it may pain his most determined of detractors to say it – Diego Costa alone shouldn’t be held accountable for Chelsea’s woes this season. The 27-year-old centre-forward hasn’t been great by any means, but as the likes of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic have all underperformed for the Blues so far this term, pinning the entirety of Chelsea’s current problems to the back of their isolated front-man would seem unreasonable to say the very least.
Yet because a player like Romelu Lukaku can seemingly create his own fortune inside the final third via his powerful approach and relatively quick feet in front of goal, perhaps Chelsea would still be scoring goals right now if Jose Mourinho hadn’t seen fit to rid Stamford Bridge of the 22-year-old’s services two summers ago.
Costa is an adequate asset when it comes to his sharp movement and childish ability to wind up defenders without drawing too much attention from the referee. But now that his once forceful tactics have been found out somewhat among the rest of Chelsea’s opposition, the former Atletico star arguably no longer looks like an out-in-out goal scorer for the Blues.
Yes, Romelu Lukaku has hardly set the world alight since becoming an official Everton player in 2014, and such a stance obviously remains rather easy to take in hindsight – yet has he nonetheless shown promising signs for a striker who remains a mere 22-years-of-age in the modern era? Of course he has.
With all things considered, Jose Mourinho simply can’t go down as the very best manager of his generation, for he ultimately lacks the ability to bring through youth players at a consistent and successful enough rate. The so-called ‘special one’ has very rarely managed to deliver when it comes to the concept of youth development, as he has always opted to simply splash the cash on the next big-named star rather than looking to develop one of his own.
Although the same can also be said of Manchester City’s recent big-money capture, Kevin de Bruyne, at Stamford Bridge, Lukaku could have easily become a shining example of how Mourinho can in-fact bring through promising youth players under his wing. He had everything going for him as a youngster – and after beginning his Everton career in steady and progressive form over the last couple of seasons – the Belgian international is clearly only going to improve as the next few Premier League years eventually play out.
Whilst Chelsea continue to struggle up-top, with a whole host of other problems seemingly affecting circumstances behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge, Romelu Lukaku has continued to impress among the English top-flight – certainly outlining one of, or if not the, biggest mistake Jose Mourinho has made since being back at Stamford Bridge.
As Chelsea’s recent success has largely been built upon externally sourced wealth rather than pure footballing philosophy alone however, expect the January transfer window to be a rather busy period for the Blues if Mourinho fails to improve his team’s fortunes out on the pitch sooner rather than later.