Lukaku is Not the Player Chelsea Used to Know
Romelu Lukaku has been sensational for Everton this season, leading the Premier League goalscoring charts with 21 goals in just 29 appearances.
The Belgian endured a drought to start the season, stretching nine games without finding the net. As a result, he was feeling the pressure to find his rhythm in front of goal.
A second-half hat-trick against struggling Sunderland kickstarted his campaign, however, and the 23-year-old has not looked back since – firing in strikes from all angles.
His excellent form has propelled Everton into contention for a Champions League place, with Ronald Koeman’s men only six points off the pace of fourth-placed Liverpool in the final spot.
The Toffees will have to finish the season strongly to qualify for Europe’s elite competition, though, as the latest football betting odds are backing them at 200/1 to achieve the feat.
Reaching the Champions League would be a huge success for Koeman in his first season at the club, but more importantly, it could convince Lukaku to remain at Goodison Park.
The Belgian has spoken of his desire to leave Everton to join a team competing at the highest level, with reports linking him with a move back to Chelsea.
Lukaku only joined Everton on a permanent deal from the Blues back in 2014, after failing to convince Jose Mourinho that he was the man to lead the line. Diego Costa was preferred at the time and has ultimately lived up to expectations at Stamford Bridge, although speculation about his future has been rife.
The Belgian could well return to Chelsea to replace the man that inherited his position, with a potential switch for Costa back to his old club Atletico Madrid touted.
Lukaku is a much better player now than the striker who made the move to Everton in 2014 for £28m. Although he was excellent in his two loan spells away from Chelsea – first at West Brom then the Toffees – the Belgian has taken his game to the next level due to his accuracy and movement in front of goal, while his approach play has also been on point throughout the term.
One of the main reasons why Mourinho allowed Lukaku to leave was due to his inability to link up with his support players, including the likes of Eden Hazard, on a consistent basis. That was a strange turn of events, given that the two players are compatriots and play on a regular basis for the Belgian national team.
However, there was nothing lost in the move by Chelsea, due to the fact that Costa and Hazard have struck up a potent partnership in the final third.
Lukaku has been able to find a good relationship of his own at Everton, forming a deadly tandem with Ross Barkley. As a result, he should have no issues swapping the England international for his Belgium team-mate at club level on a weekly basis.
A partnership made up of Hazard’s pace and skill along with Lukaku’s power and finishing ability would give defences across the Premier League and Europe nightmares.
The main area of criticism of Lukaku has been his performances in big matches, with the striker coming under fire for his performance in Everton’s Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool.
However, given his importance to the Blues and their lack of goalscoring threats around him, the stronger teams can commit better players and further resources into nullifying his threat.
Given the fact that the forward is still only 23, there is plenty of scope for improvement, especially in that area; therefore, there is no reason why he could not become a Chelsea legend and continue to go from strength-to-strength.