When Chelsea fans see the performances of Romelu Lukaku this season, they must kick themselves as they think about what could have been. At Chelsea the Belgian was not given enough of a chance, with players such as Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o being preferred.
Lukaku was then loaned to Everton, and later signed for the Toffees in a £28m deal after a successful spell. Fast forward three years and Chelsea are now struggling in 10th, and Lukaku is one of the Premier League’s highest scoring strikers. Chelsea are in desperate need of goals, and many Chelsea fans often have nightmares imagining the damage the ‘Baby Drogba’ could do to other teams if he was still at Stamford Bridge.
However, things at Everton aren’t going that much better, with the side struggling for consistency and the weight of expectation. The team from Merseyside currently sit in 12th and look unlikely to get any sniff of European football next season. Under Roberto Martinez, the promise of Champions League qualification has looked far off in recent years, and now other teams such as Leicester, Southampton, West Ham and Stoke have all stepped up, making it harder for Everton to improve.
With the side no longer one of the best in the league, has Lukaku outgrown the club?
Given his 18 goals and six assists in 29 games this season – taking him to 60 goals in 141 appearances overall in the league – he is one of Europe’s most watched forwards. As there is an obvious lack of quality strikers available, Lukaku could find himself at the centre of a bidding war.
Being Belgium’s first choice striker, he is likely to be firing for his country in this summer’s European Championships. Doing so will also bring big clubs’ attention towards the player, who could soon be playing at a higher level after this summer.
Clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are only a few of the Premier League sides that desperately crave a big consistent goalscorer. Man United have struggled for goals since the days Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov all linked up well together and this season they have been worse than ever. Lukaku would fit into the side so well, and learn from Wayne Rooney.
Similarly, Arsenal have, since the Thierry Henry and Robin Van Persie left the club, been in desperate need of a consistent goal-grabber. Players such as Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott have struggled to fill the void, and Lukaku would be a great fit. He could be the difference between Arsenal finishing fourth and first.
With many strikers linked here, there and everywhere, another player’s transfer could lead to Lukaku moving. Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski has been linked with both Manchester City and Real Madrid. Similarly, Karim Benzema has been aligned with various teams, which could see Madrid move for Lukaku. PSG are losing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and look to sell Edinson Cavani, creating an opening for a new striker.
A mini transfer merry-go-round could see Lukaku move on to a better team, something he deserves after proving himself the hard way.