Romelu Lukaku is edging closer and closer to the Chelsea exit - and Blues supporters only have one man to blame if the future world-class striker leaves Stamford Bridge this summer: their manager, Jose Mourinho.
On multiple occasions this season, the Portuguese coach has bemoaned 'the fact' he has no strikers to call upon. He doesn't rate Fernando Torres or Demba Ba - that much is abundantly clear - while the ageing Samuel Eto'o was bought in on a one-year contract, and wasn't expected to pull up trees in the Premier League.
But what about Lukaku? The Belgian powerhouse proved he was ready for a shot at leading Chelsea's line by scoring 17 Premier League goals in 35 appearances for loan club West Brom last season. That was a hugely impressive return for a 19-year-old who was desperate for a chance to make an impact with his beloved Blues this term.
In Lukaku's opinion, and many others who watch the Premier League on a weekly basis, he was ready to become Chelsea's main striker back in August. Mourinho, however, felt differently.
Lukaku made three cameo appearances for the Blues at the start of the season, missed a penalty in the Super Cup against Bayern Munich, and was soon packing his bags and heading off to Everton's Goodison Park.
Soon after, and despite being separated by a distance of around 180 miles, the relationship between Mourinho and Lukaku deteriorated. While it might be an exaggeration to say that a public slanging match ensued, the fact is both had a different opinion as to why Lukaku was spending the season on loan with Everton, and it didn't play out well in the media.
Mourinho accused his young striker of being "overly talkative" and made it crystal clear that he would be the one who decided whether he stayed at Goodison Park next season after Lukaku had revealed his desire to stay put with the Toffees for another season.
The Chelsea boss also said that it was one thing to score goals regularly for Everton, but something very different performing on the biggest stages with his team.
However, on the evidence of his impressive performances for Everton and the Belgium national team this season, it's hard to see exactly why Mourinho felt Lukaku wasn't ready to become a star at Stamford Bridge - especially as his other strikers were, by his own admission, not quite what he needed for his system.
Mourinho is now expected to spend big on a new striker such as Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa or AS Monaco's Radamel Falcao. Lukaku, meanwhile, is left to consider his next move after Mourinho reportedly made him available for any offer over the £20m mark. Their relationship, it appears, beyond repair.
A host of clubs, including Tottenham and perhaps even Barcelona, will gladly pay that in order to sign the excellent Lukaku, who is a considerably better player than Didier Drogba was at the same age.
And when he's busy scoring goals for his next employer, Chelsea supporters must remember it was Mourinho's arrogance and stubbornness that cost them a genuine future star.
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