The "new Didier Drogba" appears to have been replaced by the real Drogba. Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is set to join Everton for £25 million, per Joe Strange and Simon Jones of the Daily Mail. The Belgian international will sign a five-year contract with the club at which he spent the 2013-14 season on loan.
This move comes as a surprise given that Lukaku was always seen as Chelsea's striker of the future. However, since arriving in 2011 he's been loaned out to West Brom and the Toffees from 2012 until this past season. The 21-year-old has made just 10 league appearances for the Blues, per Soccerway.
However, considering the moves that Chelsea have made, their hands were tied when it came to this Lukaku sale. The arrivals of Drogba and Diego Costa sent Lukaku down in the pecking order. Manager Jose Mourinho has also had some disagreements with the forward in the past.
Mourinho was desperately trying to sell Fernando Torres due to the club being over the foreign-players limit for the Champions League, but his high wages and the asking price appear to be too high for potential suitors.
That only contributed to Lukaku moving away from Stamford Bridge. Signing Drogba was a silly short-term move. Nostalgia overpowered common sense when that transfer was made. Mourinho has history with Drogba, but sacrificing a young, promising striker doesn't make up for it.
As for Costa, he's most likely going to be Mourinho's starter, with Drogba as the second-choice forward. Andre Schurrle is a potential replacement for all of them, but his primary roles are either as a winger or in behind the strikers.
The issue is that Lukaku needs playing time. He wouldn't have had a lot of opportunities at Chelsea. If the club gets anything around the rumored £25 million fee, it's a nice return, but that might mean little in the future if the Belgian reaches his potential.
An argument can be made for Chelsea selling Lukaku. Mourinho might think the commanding forward isn't ready to take on the rigors of the Champions League for the London side, but he'll eventually need to get the experience.
Lukaku took part in this summer's World Cup with Belgium. Granted, he didn't have a great tournament and was displaced by 19-year-old Divock Origi. However, he bounced back in the round of 16 with his goal against the U.S. as a substitute in extra time.
It's hard for a younger player to adjust his mentality and to stay focused on the big stage. The World Cup definitely helped Lukaku mature, and even he admits he needs Champions League football to grow. He won't get that at Everton, but he'll be an integral piece for manager Roberto Martinez.
Everton managed to qualify for the Europa League this season, so Lukaku will at least get to play in European competition. Obviously it's not what he apparently wanted, but it's a start.
This deal will benefit Everton. Martinez doesn't have to adjust his system that much from last season, and they have a chance to improve on last campaign. Lukaku returns to a club at which he thrived. He scored 15 goals in 31 appearances there, per ESPN FC. He also missed a few weeks due to injury, so he could have been even more prolific.
Meanwhile, Chelsea lose a talented striker who could have done great things at the club. They'll pocket a nice sum of money, but they have abandoned potential for nostalgia, which will haunt them in the future.