One of the stories of this Premier League season has been the emergence of two extremely talented Belgian strikers who between them have scored 32 goals in the league.
This represents an extraordinary achievement as Lukaku is only 19 and Benteke is not much older at 22, and they have both been banging the goals in at what are considered two of the lesser teams in the Premier League in West Brom and Aston Villa.
This has been the season in which Romelu Lukaku has recaptured the form that earned him a £20 million move from Anderlecht to Chelsea in the summer of 2011. Spearheading the attack of surprise-package West Brom all season, Lukaku has netted 14 goals in the league this campaign and that is sure to reassure Mr Abramovich that he made the right decision in sanctioning his move from Belgium, when he was only at the tender age of 18.
This dramatic upturn in form has also come at a time when Chelsea are actively seeking to bolster their striking options, with chronic miss-firer Fernando Torres and newly arrived Demba Ba the only options that they currently have. And with Torres being constantly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, the time seems right for Lukaku to step into his shoes and fulfil his undoubted potential at the next level.
When Lukaku arrived at Chelsea, the most striking aspect of the £20 million youngster was his sheer physical presence.
Standing at six feet three inches, his pace and power undoubtedly give Premier League defenders flashbacks of a recently departed Chelsea legend in Didier Drogba. In his prime, Drogba was unplayable and was capable of bullying the very best defenders in the world, and there is no reason why Lukaku can’t emulate Drogba, if not maybe even slightly surpass him in the future.
A bold claim granted, but from what he has shown throughout his first season of regular playing time in England, all of the attributes are there for him to truly become one of the most dominant centre forwards the league has ever seen.
On to Christian Benteke. At the time of writing, it is the day after the 22-year-old Belgian destroyed recently rejuvenated Sunderland with a second half hat-trick in a 6-1 win at Villa Park. This guy seems to already be the real deal, worthy of being at a one of the very best clubs in the league.
And no sooner as he had again shown his prowess in front of goal, the rumours linking him with a move to a top-four club resurfaced. Another physically impressive goal-getter, Benteke was constantly linked with a move from Aston Villa in January, with Tottenham, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool all reportedly interested in snapping up the big Belgian hit-man.
The other incredible thing about Benteke is that he is playing for a team that has been battling against relegation throughout the season. However, only Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale have scored more than him so far this season.
A magnificent achievement considering the plight of the club this year, and without him, Villa surely would have been relegated many weeks ago. It’s hard to imagine Villa being able to hold onto their star man this summer and wherever he eventually moves on to, it will be fully deserved after a truly magnificent season with the Midlands club.
So, what is the verdict? For me, Romelu Lukaku just edges it. A tough call, but at just 19-years-old, this Belgian powerhouse has undoubtedly been one of the stars of the season and his future is looking extremely bright. Chelsea would be foolish not to embrace his incredible potential and play to his strengths, as, if they do, they have a great chance of becoming the best team in the land once again, as this guy has it all.
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