Jose Mourinho has always been renowned for his ability to spot talent and to integrate said-players into the most effective tactical formation possible, especially at the striker position.
"The Special One" was the central puppeteer in bringing Didier Drogba to Chelsea from Marseille in July of 2005, and we're all aware of how important that particular signing was.
Now, in his second stint at the helm of the Blues, he has a similar decision to make in regards as to who will be leading the future Chelsea attack. And his talisman is already under contract at Stamford Bridge.
Romelu Lukaku, the 20-year-old Belgian striker, has been dubbed by many as "the next Drogba." Now, that's a lot of hype surrounding a kid barely out of his teens, but when you watch him muscle his way past defenders and streak through the box on set-pieces, there are more similarities than differences.
"He will do big things and it has already started. His progression is better than mine." That's a quote from the King of Stamford Bridge himself, and Drogba later went on to add, "he is big too, certainly, but he is already tougher and he has qualities I don't. Of course, I have some that he will only acquire with time."
That praise in itself should be enough for Mourinho to give Lukaku a chance, a sniff, an inkling of hope at first-team football, but let's look at the concrete evidence.
As a 19-year-old, Lukaku was loaned to West Brom for the 2012/13 season, playing in the biggest and most physically demanding league in Europe. Lukaku went on to score 17 goals that season as a teenager, more than any one player on his mother club, Chelsea.
On transfer deadline day this summer, Lukaku was loaned out for the full season again, much to the chagrin of Chelsea supporters who called for his inclusion in the first-team. This time, Everton was the destination, and Lukaku continued to show why he's one of Europe's top young strikers.
Lukaku was sidelined with an ankle injury for the month of February, but he's still scored 12 goals (a team high) and is second in the side in assists with six.
More importantly, he has the Toffees challenging for a Champions League finish over Arsenal, which is more impressive than any other statistic, for me.
His physical play is what most reminds people of Drogba, with a natural knack for finishing and the ability to produce something special in the late stages of matches.
Arguably, his best ever Premier League performance coming in a crucial Merseyside derby against Liverpool, when he recorded a powerful brace in a 3-3 draw at Goodison Park.
So why not play him in the Chelsea first-team next season? If he was untested, I'd understand. If he wasn't prolific, I'd understand. But he is all that and then some.
Diego Costa has been regarded as the next Chelsea transfer target, and don't think for a second that he'll be pried from Atletico Madrid for any price less than £40 million.
Maybe that's just the economist in me, but if I have a young striker as lethal as Lukaku with the highly-coveted midfield of Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Willian behind him, there's no reason to break into the Roman Abramovich piggy bank for a new front man. He's already under contract at Stamford Bridge.
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