Should Romelu Lukaku Be Made 1st-Choice Striker at Chelsea Next Season?
Chelsea have set themselves up for a tense final few weeks this season, with a spot in next season's Champions League still to secure and the possibility of a Europa League final yet alive.
Much as there is a lot to play for at this stage, there is the lingering feeling that the season has not been a satisfactory one.
The top brass certainly must have their minds on the next season already, and if the papers are to be believed, we can expect a flurry of transfer activity.
Indeed, there have been stories linking the Blues with some renowned goalscorers, including Radamel Falcao (via The Sun) and Mario Gomez (via the Daily Express). And after his extraordinary four-goal blitz against Real Madrid recently, how could Robert Lewandowski not have been in mix (via the Daily Mirror)? After all, the central striker role is one of perceived weakness when we speak of Chelsea.
To bring in Falcao, the Blues may have to relinquish Thibaut Courtois (via the Daily Mirror), who in my eyes is the long-term heir to Petr Cech's place in the first team.
There are other considerations, of course. Money is no object to Roman Abramovich, some may argue, but the introduction of Financial Fair Play would suggest that it's best to proceed with a certain level of caution in the transfer market.
There are moments when you just need to look within for a solution. This is arguably one of those occasions.
When you've got a 19-year-old who has it in him to be a world-beater, perhaps it's best to do things differently for once. Romelu Lukaku could be the answer now, couldn't he?
The managerial uncertainty makes it all the more difficult to decipher the club's plans for the next campaign.
Andre Schurrle could well be on his way to West London (via The Independent), but Chelsea may not need a new forward at all. If they avoid loaning out Lukaku for a second successive season, they might be covered. It would leave them with Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and the Belgian—a trio of players capable of pushing each other to the limits.
Should the club seek yet more depth, the time might right be to push highly rated youngster Islam Feruz, who will turn 18 in September, into the thick of things.
Steve Clarke is already bracing himself for life without Lukaku, as the West Brom gaffer appears to be confident that the young man will return to his parent club for preseason.
On the evidence of this season, is Lukaku worthy of a starting spot at Chelsea?
Lukaku has had a massive impact at West Brom this term, racking up 14 goals and four assists in 31 Premier League outings—starting just 17 of those games. He has honed his skills, developed self-belief and adapted to the rigors of the Premier League.
At his best, he can be near unplayable. The latest side to perish at the hands of Lukaku were Southampton last weekend, with the 6'3" frontman terrorizing the opposition's defense and claiming a goal as well as an assist in the bargain.
It sure looks he has the full package: the speed, the strength, the technique, the desire. Surely, the supply lines at Chelsea will be superior to those that have been available to him at the Hawthorns this season.
By the looks of things, he is just what the Blues have been missing: someone who can hold the ball up well, but more importantly, a player who will gobble up any chance you present him with.
With Lukaku having shown his worth for the Baggies, is he ready to step in and become Chelsea's chief source of goals? I wouldn't bet against it.
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