The Belgian striker is currently enjoying a fruitful season-long loan away from Stamford Bridge at Everton, and it's no surprise to hear that Roberto Martinez hopes to make the attacker's signing a permanent one, per the Daily Mail's John Drayton:
I think if there is something we can give that he can’t get elsewhere it’s enjoying his football.
In football, as a player, you can take football happiness for granted very quickly. As a young man to be important in a football club and being happy is vital. Nobody can guarantee you that unless you’ve experienced it, or know who you are going to work with. It’s as simple as that really.
The Spanish tactician is correct in his evaluation of what regular playing time can bring a player, but Chelsea may now be more open to the idea of keeping Lukaku among their own ranks after seeing him grow these last two years.
Following on from a similarly prolific loan spell at West Brom in 2012-13, during which time he scored 17 goals in 20 Premier League starts for the Baggies, per Transfermarkt, Lukaku has gone from strength to strength as a Toffee.
This term, the Belgian international has bagged 13 goals in 26 appearances, boasting a shot accuracy of 64 per cent, according to Squawka.
Both of those figures are superior to anything Jose Mourinho's current incumbents have managed to muster in the league this term, with Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba each struggling to capture consistent scoring form.
ESPN FC show what prolific company the striker is keeping statistically since moving to England:
Lukaku has 30 goals since the start of the 2012/13 season. Only 3 players - Suarez (52), van Persie (37), Sturridge (31) - have more.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 12, 2014
At just 20 years of age, Lukaku is playing beyond his years right now, and after only featuring for his parent club on a handful of occasions since completing a move from Anderlecht in 2011, his development at the Hawthorns and Goodison Park has put him in good stead to make a seamless transition to the next level.
At the very least, Chelsea will be in no rush to sell the promising youngster. His contract doesn't expire for another two years, and with Ba and Eto'o both out of contract this summer it's likely that at least one spot will be made available upon his return.
Lukaku also brings a small financial benefit, with his wages unlikely to be quite as astronomical as the £100,000 a week that Paul Clennam of Goal.com reports Eto'o is currently earning.
With such impressive figures in the past year, Lukaku has earned his right to at stake a claim for a striking berth in West London, although he'll presumably want some assurances over the amount of playing time he'll be afforded.
As the BBC's Andy Brassell points out, there was some element of politics playing its hand in Lukaku's farming out this season:
Jose Mourinho possesses one of the most talented creative parcels in the Premier League and the only thing that's stopped the Blues from being a dominant force this season has been a consistent finisher.
Given the great pedigree he's already displaying at such a young age, there's a chance that Lukaku could be the man who leads Chelsea's line for another decade should the stars align, but the question is whether it's a risk the club are willing to take.
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