Romelu Lukaku: The Blues’ New Belgian Bet?

As the transfer window rumbles on, links between the world’s elite players and Chelsea abound. One who is closer to home is Romelu Lukaku. A Blue once upon a time, Lukaku may yet become one again. From Blue beginnings to Blue beckonings, we chart where the Belgian may fit in at Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku back in Blue? Credit | @Timorikatzbya21
Lukaku back in Blue? Credit | @Timorikatzbya21

Lukaku: Blue Beginnings

It is the 2011-12 season. Andre Villas-Boas has been in charge at Chelsea since the 20th of June and the new signings have come flooding in. The Genk Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was one of the first to arrive and was proceeded by more Belgian talent, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne. Raul Meireles, Juan Mata, Patrick Bamford, Oriol Romeu and Gary Cahill were all additional talent added to a large Chelsea side.

Romelu Lukaku was signed in August from Anderlecht where he had scored 33 goals in 73 appearances nearing a goal every other game, not bad for a 18 year old in his debut season. Costing the club around 20m Euros he gave a short statement to the BBC stating that “I used to watch Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scoring goals and remember one against Manchester United, the volley at Old Trafford, and I decided I wanted to support this team.” With hindsight it’s easy to take with a pinch of salt but, for a 19 year old me, it was music to my ears.

Although seen as the replacement for Drogba, he hardly played in his first season and after the departure of Villas-Boas was unlikely to be looked at as Di Matteo struggled to keep his job. Rafa Benitez then entered the role leaving him out on loan at West Brom where he once again scored every other game, totalling 17 goals in 25 appearances. It was evident to me, with him outscoring all of our players (Frank Lampard 13 PL goals), that he would soon return to Chelsea and become our centre forward.

Right player, wrong time: Romelu Lukaku was unlucky not to make it at Chelsea. Credit | Getty Images via Goal
Right Player, Wrong Time: Romelu Lukaku was unlucky not to make it at Chelsea. Credit | Getty Images via Goal

Bagging Success

Jose came home in 2013, had a short conversation with Romelu and then put him out to pasture at Everton. I recall being incensed that one of the greatest managers of all time could not see the talent that he possessed and after (here it comes again) scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances he signed for Everton in 2014. He remained here, scoring goals and creating chances for the Toffee’s until 2017 where his tally finished at, you guessed it 110 appearances and 53 goals. In the process he also manager to bag two goals against the blue whilst, the top goalscorer for the season he was chasing, bit off more than he could chew.

His big move then came, Manchester United, a re-union with the man who didn’t see him as the talent he was, but the reunion was not a happy one. Romelu struggled to play the way in which Jose wanted and was made a mockery, his first touch constantly analysed and his goal tally questioned, he was later replaced by Zlatan and others and pushed to the side. Personally, I can see why he didn’t perform. Manchester united did not play the style of football he liked, he had no ability to run at players and the quality of delivery into him was poor. (28 in 66 if you are interested)

Internazionale is now his home and you know how well that has gone. Scoring every other game Lukaku has helped gain a Serie A title for Inter and is playing as part of a team he loves. So why come to chelsea, and why would we target him?

Back to the Bridge?

Firstly, he was shunned by us, lets get that straight. Lukaku supported Chelsea as a child, then spent most of his junior years on loan or on the bench, which could either lead to a motivational return story or a “empathetic reply” as has been reported recently.

Furthermore, there are warning signs, similarly to the last time he was at the Bridge there are other strikers in the pecking order, Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and Oliver Giroud all have pedigree of a kind and assurance in his contract, in my opinion, would have to be made.

The other side of the coin, however, is that he scores every other game. Given the right kind of service, he could potentially flourish. He is similar to other recognised forwards such as Costa and Drogba and can play alone in a forward position. As you can see below he scores most of his goals inside the area, if not the 6 yard box, this would drag center backs away from our talented midfield players in Havertz and Mount who could then either strike the ball or play into Lukaku’s feet. This for me, is why I would rather have Lukaku than Haaland, who requires space in the pocket to enhance his play.

This change in style from the Premier League Lukaku, as you can see from the goals above, is why I feel he should be the number one target, however I feel this would be at the cost of one of our newest signings starting spots and should therefore be carefully considered, as Ziyech could potentially be the man losing out.

The Final Countdown

There isn’t a huge amount of time left before the start of the season. The Euros are a huge hindrance to transfer windows and I think any attempt to make contact with Haaland or Lukaku will be late. So, we could be biting our nails until the end.

As I have mentioned Lukaku’s style of play better suits Chelsea as a brand. His experience in Italy will also help. Previously we have been labelled an Italian side in disguise due to our defensive capabilities. His ability to take spot kicks, have aerial presence and pin centre halves gives him a wide range of options when it comes to scoring and with depth in our squad around him could be a focal point for a dominant Chelsea this season.

All of this balances on the opinion he has on Chelsea itself. I am sure Tuchel would be a fantastic fit for him but, for me, it could be redemption or revulsion. Sadly, I feel I may be let down once again.

Written by Rob Edwards (@robrambles)

Edited by Dan Hill (@idanknow05)

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