With 15 goals and six assists for the Toffees, per WhoScored.com, the big Belgian showed Jose Mourinho and Co. exactly what they were missing last term, but they’re reportedly not set to miss out on his brilliance in the upcoming campaign.
As Sky Sports reports, the 21-year-old is set to come back and fight for his place in Chelsea’s starting line-up. Fernando Torres and new signing Diego Costa curently stand between Lukaku and regular, first-team football.
Though both Spaniards are exceptional talents and are more than capable of leading the Blues’ line, if Mourinho opts to field Lukaku as the lone striker, then he won’t regret it.
Chelsea seriously lacked a bit of physical power up front last season, and for all the attacking players in their ranks that can elegantly tiptoe past players, there are brute defenders in the Premier League that can stop them with sheer strength.
Lukaku, though, is a nightmare for defenders on the physicality front, and he showed with Everton that he can use his expert hold-up play to bring more skilful players into the game, which would certainly be useful with the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar around him at Stamford Bridge.
Though Costa also has a bit of strength about him, Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles told Mundo Deportivo that Lukaku is more powerful than the former Atletico man while also having just as much class as him with the ball (per Alex Fisher of Goal.com).
“He is a lot like Costa but I would say he is even more physically powerful," Robles said. "He is a real animal, a beast. He is also a player who fights a lot and has a goal in him, like Costa. Lukaku is a player who always faces up. He never hides if a game gets ugly, and has a lot of character.”
There were times last season when the Blues were crying out for a player to make his mark on the ugly games, their 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace at the back end of last season being a prime example.
Chelsea tried desperately to pass their way into the Eagles’ net, but such was Tony Pulis’ side’s brutish approach that they couldn’t find a way through.
The loss ended up costing the Blues the title, and with several teams setting up to defend against Mourinho’s men, Lukaku could prove the difference between frustrating and fruitful days at the office next season.
He showed as much during the World Cup with Belgium in their round-of-16 clash with the U.S.
As extra time came around in Brazil, Lukaku came off the bench to devastating effect by scoring what proved to be the decisive goal, and Rio Ferdinand saw it coming due to the daunting prospect of facing the Belgian with tired legs:
It all depends on whether or not the Portuguese manager sees Lukaku as part of his long-term plans, as it seems the striker is more than happy to head back to Goodison Park if not, which Phil Kirkbride of the Liverpool Echo reported.
“I have the opportunity to stay at Everton, it is a possibility and it is something we will have to talk about," Lukaku said. "But first I want to go back to Belgium, see my family and get some rest.”
Chelsea’s loss will certainly be Everton’s gain if Goodison Park is Lukaku’s destination for the 2014/15 campaign, and manager Roberto Martinez will likely bite Mourinho’s hand off if he’s offered the 21-year-old.
The Blues found scoring goals rather difficult last season, but if they keep Lukaku in their setup, then it could prove to be the least of their worries.