In general, any time a player is sold or loaned to another club, there is a clear winner or loser in the exchange. But in the case of Chelsea loaning Romelu Lukaku to Everton, it's hard to see who lost in the deal.
Well, other than West Brom.
Here's Everton making the addition of Lukaku official on Twitter on Monday:
For Everton, the upgrade is obvious. Lukaku scored 17 goals in the Premier League last season. Meanwhile, Everton's leading goalscorer in Premier League play last season was a midfielder, Marouane Fellaini, who is now a Manchester United player after leaving on deadline day.
Everton's second-leading scorer was forward Nikica Jelavic, who managed just seven goals in 26 starts and 37 total appearances in Premier League play. Without question, Lukaku is an upgrade at the position.
For Lukaku, the chance to play for a quality club like Everton, one that will surely keep itself in the hunt for a place in Europe, is a fantastic opportunity.
At Chelsea this year, he would have only been given spot starts, as there are three other forwards on the roster. With Everton, he'll start most games. At a club like West Brom, he wouldn't have been playing with the same quality of players as the Toffees possess.
Chelsea may be the only side in this deal where an argument could be made against the move. You could certainly say that Jose Mourinho should have given Lukaku more of a chance to earn the starting gig with Chelsea.
After all, those 17 Premier League goals last year were more than Fernando Torres (eight) and Demba Ba (15) managed in the league last season. And let's not forget that 13 of those goals for Ba came while he was with Newcastle. In 14 appearances for Chelsea in the league, he found the back of the net just twice.
But with the addition of Samuel Eto'o—who will likely be given his fair share of starts, seeing as he seems to fit Mourinho's style of forward more than either Torres or Ba—there was a clear logjam at the forward position, and someone had to go.
Rather than loan Ba to a Premier League rival and title contender like Arsenal, loaning Lukaku to Everton ensures he will see regular playing time and continue his evolution as a fine young forward. Put in those terms, it was the prudent decision.
Remember, Lukaku is still just 20 years of age—what he needs more than anything is playing time, not necessarily playing time for Chelsea.
So yes, even if Mourinho could have perhaps considered making Lukaku his primary forward, in the end this loan seems like the right decision for the Blues. It's very rare that all three sides come away from a transaction the better for it.
In this case, Chelsea, Everton and Lukaku can all pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
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