When the Belgian first arrived at Chelsea the Blues had Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Nicolas Anelka and Daniel Sturridge amongst the ranks, so it was difficult for him to make an impact during his first season and Andre Villas-Boas mainly used him as a substitute.
But Lukaku has no regrets and is grateful to have spent time with more experienced forwards at the Stamford Bridge club:
“It was the right place to learn the ropes. Players like Drogba and Anelka took me under their wing and showed me how things worked in the Premier League. And now I’m happy to be able to spread my own wings.”
Lukaku received criticism ahead of his move to the Baggies as he openly complained about the lack of playing time at Chelsea, but he can be forgiven for that as he’s a young man and Clarke initially reminded him that there’s no guarantees over playing time at the Hawthorns either and every player would have to work hard, so that’s exactly what he did.
The 19-year-old has certainly made a big impression on the club as his 14 goals and three assists have helped West Brom into an impressive eighth-place position in the Premier League and this didn’t go unnoticed amongst his peers as he was nominated for PFA’s Young Player of the Year award.
But where does Lukaku go from here?
It is looking likely that Chelsea are preparing to sign another big money forward, like Radamel Falcao, this summer and it doesn’t look as though either Fernando Torres or Demba Ba will be going anywhere just yet, so it might be difficult for him to achieve the sort of playing time he needs next season but it does depend on who the next manager is.
I think the best thing for Lukaku is to play regular football and he’s more likely to get this out on loan again. He’s learnt a lot during his time in England and has proved that he’s an able goal-scorer, so I’d like to see him somewhere like Swansea with Michael Laudrup as the Swans’ style of play would be good preparation for stepping into Chelsea’s lineup and they will also be competing in Europe next season after winning the Capital One Cup in February.