Some things in life are certainties: death, taxes, and Chelsea buying some of Europe’s brightest talent only to loan them out, sell them on and never see them play for the first team.
And the depressing reality at Stamford Bridge is that a lot of these offloads aren’t just promising talents – they’re world class talents. Just look at Kevin de Bruyne who had a stellar season for Wolfsburg last year and is Manchester City’s latest mega-money signing. Chelsea got £18m for that particular youth product, whilst the Germans received £54m for him. Even if you’re coming at it from a purely financial point of view, rather than a footballing one, that’s surely still a mistake.
And that pattern looks like it might be repeating.
Everton paid big money to take Romelu Lukaku to Goodison Park on a permanent deal, but now if the Toffees are to sell him, he will cost much more than that.
But it’s not just the transfer fee that will depress Chelsea fans. Just like the De Bruyne case, it wasn’t just a blunder in financial terms, but it was also a blunder in footballing terms, as this stat shows.
Romelu Lukaku: Only Sergio Agüero (65) has scored more goals in the last 4 Premier League seasons than @RomeluLukaku9 (57)
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 20, 2016
Chelsea’s Diego Costa has been misfiring this season, and their squad depth is not looking as robust as it could do. The squad left behind by Jose Mourinho was, of course, a team of champions, but the striking options have been pretty anonymous – Radamel Falcao and an underused Loic Remy in reserve. Reinforcements are thin on the ground for Guus Hiddink.
Lukaku is the Premier League’s top scorer with 15 goals already, whilst Chelsea sit four points off the relegation zone. As that stat suggests, Lukaku has been prolific for the last four seasons, bettering every other Premier League player bar Aguero, and so his form clearly isn’t temporary. Such consistency is very impressive for a 22-year-old striker.
And given that Lukaku is so young, surely letting him go must rank as one of Chelsea’s biggest transfer blunders – right up there with paying £50m for Fernando Torres!