Transfer deadline day came and went at Stamford Bridge with very little activity. With interest in Wayne Rooney having been discontinued several days earlier, and a deal for Samuel Eto’o in the bag soon after, Chelsea’s only late swoop of note was for pacey Porto man Christian Atsu, who was immediately loaned out.
But the reunion between Eto’o and Jose Mourinho – previously his manager at Inter, where the duo helped the club to Champions League success – meant there was no place in the Blues squad for Romelu Lukaku, who was shipped off to Everton on loan in the final hours of the window.
It’s been a hugely frustrating start to the season for the Belgian striker. Coming off the back of a successful loan spell at West Bromwich Albion, during which he found the net 17 times, the powerful frontman was widely touted as having a chance to establish himself as Chelsea’s main man in front of goal this season.
But with Mourinho seemingly ranking Fernando Torres and Demba Ba (whose own deadline day move failed to come to fruition, sealing Lukaku’s fate) higher up the pecking order in the early weeks of the campaign, opportunities to impress were limited.
Torres began the first match against Hull City before Ba led the line at home to Aston Villa, with neither player setting the world alight. Manchester United followed and Lukaku may have expected a run-out, but Andre Schurrle was preferred as a central attacker and the ex-Anderlecht powerhouse didn’t even emerge from the bench.
Then came the Super Cup against Bayern Munich, which Chelsea eventually lost due to Lukaku’s weak attempt from 12 yards during a nail biting penalty shootout. It will probably have had very little bearing on the Blues’ eventual decision to loan him out, but missing that spot kick could prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Under Roberto Martinez at Everton, Lukaku looks set to get plenty of Premier League action – something he was never going to gain at Stamford Bridge with Eto’o now joining Ba and Torres in the dressing room. He’ll gain a whole lot more playing top division football each weekend than he would running around for the reserves.
Lukaku himself has an interesting take on his Toffees move, too. Speaking to the
He said: “There are a few things I need to improve in my game, and Everton’s footballing approach and possession play can be perfect for me. My movement and runs to the far post and near post could be better, and I have already had a good, long conversation with the manager Roberto Martinez about that.”
Ultimately, a season down the line, Chelsea are going to have a more refined, well-rounded footballer at their disposal. Everton is the perfect place for Lukaku to continue his evolution from a raw, dominant athlete into a genuine top four target man.
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