Chelsea Should Cut Their Losses with Petulant Romelu Lukaku

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Chelsea Should Cut Their Losses with Petulant Romelu Lukaku
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

For a player who endured a disappointing 2014 World Cup, Romelu Lukaku's confidence doesn't appear to have taken too much of a knock.

The Chelsea and Belgium striker's comments this week have set him on a collision course with Jose Mourinho after suggesting he will demand a move away from Stamford Bridge if he isn't a first-choice pick next season.

Brace yourself, it's going to get ugly.

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"What I don't want is to be loaned out [next season]," Lukaku is quoted as saying, per the Daily Mirror's Neil McLeman.

"I am 21 and I have been loaned for the last two seasons. Thibaut Courtois was loaned for three seasons and will be without doubt the first-choice Chelsea goalkeeper.

"And Kevin De Bruyne has been transferred permanently to Wolfsburg. They are free in their heads—it is not my case. [A transfer] would free me totally.”

So either play me or sell me is Lukaku's demand. Tough words from a player who has achieved very little in the game.

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Lukaku needs to remind himself that Chelsea isn't a club like West Bromwich Albion or Everton who are rarely challenging for titles and other honors under the intense scrutiny of the media spotlight.

The expectation level isn't there, and thus, the pressure is significantly reduced.

Indeed, Lukaku has benefited considerably from his loan spells at he Hawthorns and Goodison Park, yet this summer's World Cup has confirmed he is not ready to lead the line for an elite club.

That time may well come, but at 21 years old, he still has much to achieve if he is to realise his lofty ambitions.

Scoring goals for Everton and West Brom is far different from doing it consistently at Chelsea and for his country on the biggest stage.

Lukaku has had the opportunities to do just that, although he has wilted.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

He started Brazil 2014 as Belgium's No. 1 striker, only to lose his place in the line-up to Divock Origi—a striker two years his junior.

And when he has appeared for Chelsea, the goals haven't been forthcoming. In fact, he is yet to find the back of the net during his three years with the club.

Regardless of what Lukaku has achieved elsewhere—with former club Anderlecht and his two previous loan spells—he is in no position to be making demands. Not at Chelsea and not with Mourinho as his manager.

Ahead of Lukaku, Chelsea have Fernando Torres and Diego Costa—whose transfer to Stamford Bridge from Atletico Madrid was agreed last week, per ChelseaFC.com.

Both are players who, despite a loss in form on Torres' part, have proved themselves at the highest level by scoring vital goals in important matches. Between them they have won European titles, league titles and even World Cups.

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Lukaku, the young upstart, cannot expect to be preferred over them, not least Costa whose 36 goals in all competitions last term more than doubled Lukaku's 16 for Everton.

To suggest otherwise is petulance on his part. It outlines his immaturity and doesn't bode well for the future.

If his ego is such now, it doesn't bear thinking how inflated it will become should he find success at the top.

Lukaku's priority at this moment should be to prove his doubters wrong by scoring goals, and in the process, convincing his manager that his belief in his own ability isn't misguided.

Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Instead, he's using the media to pedal his own agenda, and it doesn't reflect well.

Confidence should be applauded in any player, but when they enjoy a quote as much as Lukaku does, they need to have the substance to back it up.

He hasn't proved that yet.

Will he ever at Chelsea? Well, that remains to be seen. Mourinho isn't one for massaging inflated egos, though, and he will be wise not to change tact where Lukaku is concerned.

"There are several clubs interested," he continued in the Mirror.

If that's the case, let them pay millions for the privilege of adopting Chelsea's problem child.

 

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes

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