Chelsea and the transfer window have a rather love-hate relationship—sometimes business is good, other times it isn't.
While the Blues' big-name summer signings are undoubtedly more signs of manager Jose Mourinho's squad-building intelligence, top-quality stars may well be on the way out of Stamford Bridge as a direct result.
With Chelsea living in silver linings as the 2014/15 Premier League fast approaches, we take a look at player exits that make up the clouds in west London.
End of the Road for Romelu Lukaku
Chelsea are in a league of their own when it comes to sending young talent out on loan and reaping the rewards of their external development, with Romelu Lukaku as a prime example.
The Belgian sensation signed for the Blues in 2011 and has gone on to enjoy fruitful loan spells with both West Bromwich Albion and Everton as he forged himself into one of the Premier League's most-feared marksmen.
As Lukaku now becomes the player that he always promised to be, you'd expect him to come back into Chelsea's fold and be in line for a starting berth in the upcoming campaign.
However, the 21-year-old will not be donning the famous blue shirt anymore as he completed the switch to Everton on a permanent basis on Wednesday—per BBC Sport.
The report states that the Toffees will part with a club-record fee of £28 million to lure the Belgian back to Goodison Park, and the man himself revealed via Twitter that he's heading for the Stamford Bridge exit door:
Time to write a new chapter..... pic.twitter.com/1XNjbYXsl4— R.Lukaku Bolingoli (@RomeluLukaku9) July 30, 2014
With Diego Costa and Didier Drogba signing for Chelsea over the summer, Lukaku would have been forced to play a bit-part role with the Blues next season if he'd stayed in their ranks—something that doesn't suit a player of his class.
Were Chelsea right to sell Romelu Lukaku?
Add Fernando Torres to that mix and even a bit-part contribution looks a little optimistic, so it's no surprise to see Lukaku heading out.
However, will his departure be a piece of business that Chelsea live to regret?
Should Costa pick up an injury next season, where will Mourinho turn? Though Drogba is a hero of the club, the days of the Ivorian terrorising Premier League defences look behind him.
As for Torres, those days have scarcely been seen in a Chelsea shirt, and Spanish football journalist Sergi Dominguez believes that "El Nino" is nowhere near good enough for the club:
Fernando Torres missing a 2-yard sitter was nothing out of the ordinary. Astounding how he's still at Chelsea, club way above his weights.— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) July 27, 2014
Torres' chances to prove Dominguez wrong will likely be few and far between next term, but much like his exploits on the pitch, he's already had enough.
That's where Lukaku could have come in and done the business for the Blues, but the two big personalities of the Belgian and Mourinho colliding means that his time in the Chelsea spotlight is up.
The Blues' loss will undoubtedly be Everton's gain, and while Lukaku will likely be met with a chorus of boos every time he takes to the field at Stamford Bridge, he has more than enough about him to both silence the Chelsea faithful and leave them lamenting what could have been.
The Gloves Are Off
While boasting two of the world's best goalkeepers, Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois, in your ranks is hardly a bad thing, it's presented a fierce battle for the No. 1 shirt next season.
Both 'keepers were in outstanding form last year, and as OptaJoe revealed, there's very little between them on the statistical front:
24 - Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois both conceded 24 goals in their respective domestic leagues in 2013/14. Battle. pic.twitter.com/WKdqxDElrg— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 25, 2014
However, it seems that Courtois may well be in line to make the place between Chelsea's posts his own, with Cech possibly heading for the Stamford Bridge exit door.
As Charlie Skillen of the Daily Mail reports, the Blues could be forced to part company with Cech to comply with home-grown quotas for both the Premier League and Champions League, with new arrivals giving Chelsea one too many foreign players.
Mourinho himself commented on the fact that his side need one more home-grown player to meet the quota, confirming that one of his squad will be departing—per Skillen:
From the group you are expecting us to have as a squad, I have to send one away because we have one extra foreign player. So from all these players, if you think all of them have to stay, you are wrong. One of them has to go.
Whether that one is Cech remains to be seen, but with Courtois a more-than-capable pair of hands in the Chelsea goal and Mourinho able to bring in one of the home-grown Jamal Blackman or Mitchell Beeney to replace Cech, it almost seems sensible to let the 32-year-old leave.
The fact that Cech remains one of the best goalkeepers on the planet is what makes his proposed exit appear so ludicrous, though, and he told Ekipa24 that he's willing to stay and fight for his place in the team—as Jure Bohoric of Sky Sports revealed:
"I'm staying at Chelsea, that for sure. I really don't mind that there are two great keepers at Chelsea. That motivates me ever more.”
However, Cech may not get a say in his future with quotas to be met, and his future depends on just how much Mourinho values him.
For all the excitement of incoming players to Stamford Bridge, the harsh reality of two top-class players leaving will have put a dampener on the Blues' optimism ahead of the upcoming campaign.
It's unlikely that the Blues will make the same mistake of letting a world-class talent leave with Cech, though, and Mourinho will undoubtedly be working his magic to keep him in the capital.