Why Chelsea Need Romelu Lukaku Back from West Bromwich Albion

Rowanne Westhenry@@agirlintheshedFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2013

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03:  Romelu Lukaku of West Bromwich Albion in action during the Barclay's Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur at The Hawthorns on February 3, 2013 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Chelsea's problems in the striker department are well documented. Didier Drogba's departure last summer left Fernando Torres as their lone striker until the arrival of Demba Ba from Newcastle United in January.

The Blues have a full starting 11 plus substitutes out on loan at various clubs across Europe, and one of those players is Romelu Lukaku.

The towering Belgian joined West Bromwich Albion at the beginning of the 2012-13 season on loan in order to get some playing experience in the Premier League before he begins his Chelsea career in earnest. He has been well received by the West Brom fans and even has his own song at the Hawthorns: "He comes from Stamford Bridge/He's bigger than a fridge."

Lukaku is seen by many as the next Drogba due to his physical presence and the impact he has had on the West Midlands club.

Despite being only 19 years old, he has relished the chance to play in big games, scoring in both Premier League matches against Liverpool as West Brom completed the double over the Reds. In total he has scored 10 times in 24 appearances for the Baggies, coming off the bench in 13 of those outings, and some of his goals have been absolutely spectacular.

Chelsea had the option of recalling Lukaku in January but opted instead to buy Demba Ba to bolster their strike force. However, having appeared in the Europa League for Newcastle United he is ineligible to appear in the same competition for the Blues this season.

Whether anybody at the club realised that problem is a mystery, but it leaves Torres as the only natural striker for the remainder of Chelsea's Europa League campaign.

Statistically, it would have made sense to bring Lukaku back to London in January. Not only has he scored 10 Premier League goals to Torres' seven, his minutes per goal ratio is far lower, 119 to Torres' 293.

He is also better at taking his chances, with a conversion rate of 22 percent to Torres' 16 percent.

Lukaku has had 45 shots at goal, averaging at an attempt every 26 minutes and finds the target every 44 minutes. Torres has had the same number of shots but it takes him 46 minutes to have an attempt, and he averages 76 minutes per shot on target.

Lukaku's productivity at West Brom is more impressive when you compare their midfield with Chelsea's. West Brom are a tenacious team, but with the Three Amigos behind him he would be able to make the darting runs he enjoys and score for fun at the club he signed for in 2011. 

The primary reason behind loaning Lukaku out was that he needed a good run of games, but with Torres' failing to find his form he would have had that opportunity had he returned in January.

However, it makes sense in the long run for him to continue at West Brom for the full season, as he will return to Chelsea for their preseason tour with Premier League experience and a hunger to repeat the same feats from this season at Stamford Bridge in 2013-14. 

Whoever is in charge of Chelsea in the summer should work with Lukaku and Ba up front together, as they have the potential to create a formidable force at the front of some of the greatest attacking talent ever seen at Chelsea FC.

All stats are provided by EPLindex.com