How a single decision cost Chelsea the Premier League title
When Jose Mourinho announced that Romelu Lukaku’s services would not be required for a second consecutive season at Chelsea, clubs all across Europe were licking their lips at the possibility of a loan deal for the giant Belgian striker.
Following a successful spell at West Bromwich Albion in the previous campaign, many believed Lukaku was ready to transform from mid table goal-getter to title winning contender. Averaging just under a goal every other game for ‘The Baggies’, it looked as though he was primed to thrive on the service of players like Willian, Oscar and Hazard at his parent club.
This was not the case.
Everton were lucky enough to secure the signature of the promising 20 year old for the duration of the season and have since been repaid with 13 league goals. He has played a key role in the Merseyside club’s push to finish in a European spot come May.
So why did Mourinho not consider Lukaku ready for first team action at Stamford Bridge?
There is no doubting Mourinho’s tactical ability. The way he has set up his team in crucial matches throughout the season has been spot on and his attention to detail in every single game is generally revered. More often than not, it is off the field where Jose has his critics. It is clear that he prefers to take full advantage of Roman Abramovich’s millions by bringing in more experienced players, rather than trusting Chelsea’s youth team graduates.
For such a young player, the colossal forward has all the attributes required to reach the very top of the game. It’s hard to think of a stronger, more imposing player in England’s top flight. Despite standing at almost 2 metres tall, he has incredible pace and his intelligent runs have torn top quality defences apart in recent matches. His ability to hold the ball up and bring team mates into play when necessary is unrivalled. He has also proved his versatility, featuring in a number of different positions for Everton this season and looking comfortable wherever he has played.
Since the departure of talisman Didier Drogba in 2012, Chelsea have failed to fill the boots of the man who they so often relied on for goals. So far this season, Chelsea’s three out-and-out strikers have managed just 16 league goals between them. The ageing Samuel Eto’o, out of form Fernando Torres and out of favour Demba Ba have certainly underachieved. You can’t help but think with Lukaku leading the line this season, they would not have had to rely on the majority of their goals coming from midfield.
Staggeringly it is widely rumoured that Chelsea will allow Lukaku to leave in the summer. This has fuelled speculation of Athletico Madrid’s goal machine Diego Costa heading to Stamford Bridge and Fernando Torres moving in the opposite direction.
With fellow countryman Christian Benteke ruled out of the World Cup this summer, Lukaku will most likely be first choice in attack for the star-studded Belgian side. If he has a successful tournament, the demand for the talented youngster will undoubtedly increase; along with his price tag.
With Liverpool now in pole position for the title, has Mourinho’s decision to snub Lukaku proved to be a costly one for ‘The Blues’ and ultimately cost Chelsea the Premier League?
One thing is for sure, wherever Romelu Lukaku ends up playing his football next season, he will provide goals in abundance and a desire to become one of the best strikers in world football.
The original article can be found on Ben Morris’ blog thinkingfooty.wordpress.com.