Chelsea Arrivals Again Leave Lukaku Out In The Cold

It's clear that Jose Mourinho has a problem with Romelu Lukaku, and it appears he will be leaving Chelsea for good. Is Jose in danger of cutting off his nose to spite his face?

Last Updated: 26/07/14 at 13:58 Post Comment

Latest Articles

16 Conclusions: Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea

Post comment

A typical Mourinho away performance that seemed to indicate that the title was Chelsea's, until narrative came back to haunt them. Daniel Storey enjoyed it immensely...

Ozil Starts To Answer His Critics...

18 comments

Matt Stanger watched Mesut Ozil answer his critics with a telling contribution in Arsenal's 3-0 thrashing of Aston Villa. It's now a question of playing him alongside Alexis Sanchez...

All Articles

"The transfer market closes on August 31 and we close our market on July 19. We finished the market today" - Jose Mourinho, July 19.

"This summer, we've bought new players and we are trying to build for the next decade" - Jose Mourinho, July 24.

Taking Jose Mourinho's words as the gospel truth has long been a foolish pastime, but to disprove two claims in one move is an impressive feat even for Jose, a man who almost prides himself on an ability to make people erroneously take his words as verbatim. In signing Didier Drogba on a one-year contract as a player (with no future coaching plans included), Mourinho at least partially invalidated his claim that he was building for the future. The departure of Romelu Lukaku now seems an inevitable occurrence - this time his parting will be of a permanent nature.

Mourinho's treatment of Lukaku has been a bone of contention for some time. When the Belgian claimed in December that he would like to remain at Everton for another season, the Chelsea manager was quick to put him in his place. "Maybe there is a new rule in football where when the season finishes every player is able to decide their own future," Mourinho said sarcastically. "Romelu likes to speak. He's a young boy who likes to speak." Stones can be heard hitting the windows of a glass house.

Lukaku's continued disappointment is at his lack of opportunities at Stamford Bridge since arriving for around £18million in August 2011. He has played just 199 Premier League minutes for Chelsea, loaned out to both West Brom and Everton on season-long deals, and evidently feels that he has been unfairly rejected by the club despite meriting an extended chance to impress.

It's difficult to disagree. Lukaku only turned 21 at the end of last season, and yet the only current Premier League player with more PL goals in the last two seasons than the Belgian's total of 32 is Robin van Persie. That Lukaku achieved such a feat whilst playing for Everton and West Brom, where service (particularly away from home) was occasionally scarce, indicates just how comfortable he is playing as the central striker in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation, precisely the approach Mourinho may well utilise at Chelsea next season.

A comparison of the number of league goals scored by the age of 21 sees Lionel Messi with 57, Michael Owen 55 and Wayne Rooney 44 - Lukaku has 65. This may not yet be the complete striker, but at such a tender age nor should he be - what he has demonstrated is that he could be one of the best forwards in the world in three or four years' time.

It isn't as if things have been going swimmingly for Chelsea in such an area, either. It is likely that the title would have been won last season had Jose Mourinho had a competent striker at his disposal. Samuel Eto'o scored nine times (before being released), whilst Demba Ba and Fernando Torres managed just ten goals between them. In each of the last two seasons, Lukaku has outscored Chelsea's top Premier League goalscorer.

The contrast between Lukaku and Torres is the most striking, the Belgian managing more league goals in his last two seasons (at Everton and West Brom, remember) than Torres has in his last four seasons at Chelsea and Liverpool. Lukaku's shot accuracy of 62.5% and conversion rate of 20.83% dwarfs that of Torres (48.65% and 13.51%), and yet it is Torres that will remain at Stamford Bridge, his high wages and pitifully low output making him a less than tempting proposition.

Mourinho has attempted to rectify his striking woes, recruiting Diego Costa for £32million from Atletico Madrid. Costa was continuously excellent for Atletico in both La Liga and the Champions League, but has only ever scored more than ten in a league season on one occasion- Lukaku has done so four times. His accuracy (57%) was also lower than Lukaku's last season.

It's a move that has left former Chelsea coach (and current Real Madrid assistant) Paul Clement not entirely convinced. "Costa's aggression and nastiness is the key, as without that he'd be a fairly average player," Clement said. "I'm not surprised Mourinho has signed him as he's the kind of player who'd die on the pitch for his team-mates, but he won't find it as easy to bully defenders in England as he did in Spain." Chelsea have taken a gamble, of that there is no doubt, the financial burden at least eased by Paris St Germain's unfathomable decision to pay £40million for David Luiz.

The bizarre conclusion, however, is that if Mourinho wanted a physical presence to lead his line, that is exactly what Lukaku constitutes (with the added bonus of Premier League experience and success). He won 38% of his aerial duels (compared to Costa's 21%) and was dispossessed only 1.7 times per game in the Premier League. Costa's figure of 3.6 is markedly higher.

That is certainly the opinion of Joel Robles, team-mate of Lukaku at Goodison last season: "He's a lot like Costa but I would say he is even more physically powerful," Robles said. "He is a player who fights a lot and has a goal in him, like Costa. Lukaku is a player who always faces up. He never hides if a game gets ugly, and has a lot of character."

And so, whilst one of the Premier League's most potent strikers will be allowed to leave at the age of just 21 without Chelsea even making a meaningful profit, with both Atletico and Real Madrid reportedly keen on a move.

All eyes now turn to Costa, Chelsea's second most expensive ever purchase. If it works out anything like the Spaniard above Costa on that list, supporters will be rightly questioning why Lukaku is being permitted to leave. What's more, why did he never even get a meaningful chance when other clubs rate him so highly?

Daniel Storey - Follow him on Twitter

@harry journalists? Pushing it a bit there eh? Is any other Chelsea fan here feeling just a bit nervous for the next campaign? Seeing City, United and Liverpool are putting some good results down our first quality opposition in Werder sees us getting stuffed despite fielding good players. I know it is just friendlies but I don't see our squad as good enough or big enough. It hasn't got cover in all areas, one or two injuries and we are going to struggle.
- crow

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

ilarious, thanks for that. But if I may, I do suspect the reason of your partners' ire is not Tottenham, but most probably all the compusilve gambling :)

DannySmith
Backing Costa To Keep Banging 'Em In

T

wo police horses in a paddock. Horse 1: What's with the long face? Horse 2: I'm working St James Park this weekend.

hump3.
Pardew braced for protests

T

wo things. First, I can't stop reading your name as 'Dane Bowers'. Second, you used the words 'philosophy' and 'Redknapp' in the same sentence.

ajsr1982
Can United's Defence Handle Ulloa?

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Premier League: Crystal Palace beat Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park

Crystal Palace came from behind to beat Everton 3-2 and pick up their first win of the Premier League campaign.

Premier League: Frank Lampard haunts Chelsea as he earns Manchester City earn 1-1 draw

Frank Lampard stepped off the bench to score against his former club and salvage a 1-1 draw for Man City at home to Chelsea.

Premier League: Frank Lampard has mixed emotions after scoring against Chelsea

Frank Lampard was almost speechless after scoring the equaliser for his Manchester City side in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

Mail Box

Liverpool Aren't Even Exciting This Season

Liverpool fans are seemingly resigned to slipping back into mediocrity, which in September isn't exactly ideal. Plus better Arsenal, Allardyce praise and an excited Saint...

Be Careful What You Wish For, Gooners

That's the message from a Man United fan in the mailbox. Plus, thoughts on Paul Lambert's new contract, the Alan Pardew dilemma at Newcastle and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property