Romelu Lukaku has been an uprising superstar for several years, so you’d be forgiven in thinking he is older than 18. He is quite simply coveted in that most top European clubs have bee linked with an interest in him over the past two seasons. His record is marvellous. 121 goals in 68 games for youth team Lierse is an eye-popping statistic, while claiming the Jupiler Pro League top goalscorer award at just 16 years of age isn’t bad either.
With all these impressive statistics to back his name, including 12 full caps for Belgium at the time of writing, why has he been treated this way?
Before joining Chelsea, he expressed that he had a soft spot for the club after visiting Stamford Bridge on a school tour around a year ago. He explained, whilst still an RSC Anderlecht player, that he would not leave Belgium to be farmed out on loan.
Perhaps Chelsea did not want to send him on loan to Stoke, perhaps it was a blind or hopeful enquiry, but it should not have come to the Premier League and ruling M 7.1 to halt the transfer. Chelsea, or more importantly Andre Villas-Boas himself, should show more faith in the teenager by outright rejecting the bid.
Following on from this, Lukaku suffered major disappointment in being left out of the Chelsea Champions League 25 man squad. Due to home-grown rules, Chelsea were only able to name 22 players, leaving 3 spaces for the absent home grown personnel. In doing so it created a conundrum for Villas-Boas on who to leave out. Lukaku was the unfortunate sufferer, which will have been heart break from him personally as he misses the opportunity to line up against Genk.
The opportunity is of course there for Lukaku to join the squad in January for the knock-out stages but considering the combined goal total in the last 21 games from Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou is a torrid 12, Lukaku may well have been a wise choice to select. Clearly, Villas-Boas believes they will sail through the group stages despite these problems, but when will Lukaku get the chance to prove himself if not against the likes of Genk?
Take it all into context. He is a boy, 18 years old. Moved from Belgium to live in London and trying hard to settle in and master a new language. The psychological blows of dealing with unwanted loan speculation and being dropped from a roster is pretty tough. Perhaps Chelsea need to look after their brand new £18m investment a bit better because the entire world will agree they have acquired what could become the best striker in the world.
Should Romelu Lukaku have merited a place in the Champions League ahead of the likes of Oriol Romeu? Do you agree that loaning him out would be a big mistake?