Romelu Lukaku is set to leave Chelsea and sign a five-year deal with Everton, and his departure from Stamford Bridge during the summer transfer window of 2014 is the best option left on the table for all parties involved.
The striker posted a photo on his personal Twitter account of him on his way to Liverpool to complete the transfer, accompanied by the caption: "Time to write a new chapter:"
Time to write a new chapter..... pic.twitter.com/1XNjbYXsl4— R.Lukaku Bolingoli (@RomeluLukaku9) July 30, 2014
The Belgian international was highly successful during the 2013-14 campaign, scoring 15 league goals in 31 appearances, per WhoScored.com.
As shared by Football Funnys, his scoring record is truly phenomenal for such a young player:
Romelu Lukaku looks set to move to Everton. He's a class act. pic.twitter.com/O09Ymy8gYC— Football Funnys (@FootballFunnys) July 30, 2014
For fans of the Blues, this transfer has to sting: Lukaku arrived at Stamford Bridge with immense expectations, and his development out on loan had been very encouraging in the last two seasons.
Often criticised for a lack of mental fortitude, the youngster understandably wasn't happy with his lack of chances at his parent club. Jose Mourinho felt more comfortable relying on older, more accomplished strikers, a smart tactic given Chelsea's title expectations every single season.
Essentially, that's what this entire saga boils down to: Mourinho wasn't sure whether he could trust the youngster to get the job done, as evidenced by the team's acquisitions of both Diego Costa and Didier Drogba.
From his perspective, Lukaku likely saw those two signings as a clear message: Chelsea will continue with the veteran approach, so you will have to wait. The youngster didn't want to wait—he feels he's ready and wants to play now.
He'll get that opportunity with Everton, who will likely build their squad around their insanely talented striker. Rafael Hernandez loved this move, both for the Toffees and the player himself:
Lukaku is a fantastic signing for Everton, did quite well last season and can improve a lot under Roberto Martínez.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) July 30, 2014
Lukaku's departure doesn't necessarily mean we've seen the last of him at Stamford Bridge, although it is likely he'll be wary of any transfer move to the Blues in the future. But at Everton, he'll have the chance to develop his skills more than he ever would playing behind Costa and Drogba.
Chelsea may have invested heavily in their younger players in the past few years, but their track record of developing young talent is still mediocre at best. The London Times' Rory Smith questioned what chance some of the other youngsters will now have after it became clear the Blues would give up on Lukaku:
Because if Lukaku can't force his way in at Chelsea, the chances of any of the kids farmed out in Holland doing it have to be slim to none.— Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) July 30, 2014
Mind you, that's not an insult to Chelsea—there are plenty of top clubs who simply can't afford to be patient with their youngsters. The Blues play for silverware every single season, and veteran stars are more likely to help that cause than youngsters still finding their way.
Will Lukaku ever return to Chelsea?
The club invested in one of the world's most talented youngsters, farmed him out for a couple of seasons and sold him with a profit. No matter how you look at it, that's good business.
Lukaku could have added cover for likely starter Costa and idol Drogba, but he wanted to play. And without consistent minutes, the chances of him continuing his development would have been slim.
Chelsea made their choice, and you can't blame them for going with veteran, proven options. Lukaku made his choice, and you can't blame him for choosing playing time over the uncertainty of West London.
As far as compromises go, this is the best either party could do. And there's no shame in admitting that. Sometimes marriages like this one simply don't work out, and the fact that neither party was left empty-handed has to be considered a victory for common sense.