Chelsea are no doubt the cream of English football - as shown by their current standing at the top of the Premier League table. And although finding goals hasn’t been that much of an issue (48 in the league this season), they still lack a world-class striker.
Samuel Eto’o has failed to live up to lofty expectations, Demba Ba isn’t a high calibre striker and Fernando Torres… well the less said, the better.
Romelu Lukaku, on the other hand, has been firing at an impressive rate in 2013/14… too bad he’s on loan at Everton.
Having enjoyed a season long loan spell at West Bromwich Albion for the 2012/13 season, Lukaku established himself as a premier striker in the English game. The then teenager scored goals left, right and centre for the Baggies on his way to 17 league goals in 35 outings.
And when the new season came about, Chelsea fans were drooling at the prospect of seeing him in a blue shirt. Plus, with an imposing 6’3” frame moving swiftly across the pitch to put the ball in the back of the net on regular basis, you can't help but see shades of another Blues legend.
Yet when the new season came about the fans only saw him in a Chelsea shirt for the best part of 42 minutes in the Premier League before he was mysteriously sent on loan.
Under the tutelage of Roberto Martinez, he has continued to develop into one of the best forwards in the Premier League thanks to his combination of size, strength and speed, which have helped him bag nine goals this term. That’s better than any striker Chelsea currently has.
In fact, Lukaku scored nearly as many league goals on his own as the whole of Blues’ strike-force - Eto’o (6), Torres (4), Ba (1) - combined. They have instead had to rely upon their midfield to produce the good with Eden Hazard and Brazilian Oscar combining for 18 goals between them.
Normally the parent club would be able to cut the loan deal short if need be, but the giant Belgian has a no recall clause in his loan agreement and it was implemented at his request. Furthermore, he was actually the one who asked for the loan move for fear of a lack of opportunities at Stamford Bridge during a World Cup year.
The west London club will face Everton for at Stamford Bridge tomorrow for a midday clash and Jose Mourinho will be glad the striker isn’t available for selection. He is currently recovering from an ankle injury that has kept him out since the Merseyside Derby in January, and even if he was at full fitness, the terms of his loan move to prevent him from facing his employers.
For now, Chelsea supporters will have to wait until the 2014/15 season to see a return on their investment. Who knows, maybe they’ll even see Thibaut Courtois between the goal posts following his lengthy loan spell in Spain. Though that seems less likely considering Petr Cech’s continued outstanding play.
Either way, the future looks bright for Chelsea and their rivals better beware.
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