Former Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins has urged Jose Mourinho not to sell Romelu Lukaku this summer - even if the Blues complete the signing of Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa.
Wilkins, who most recently worked at Stamford Bridge in 2009, believes Lukaku is the closest thing Chelsea have to club legend Didier Drogba - and could go on to become a Blues’ hero in his own right if his services are retained.
Lukaku has been linked with a move away from the west London outfit in recent months. The Belgium international’s loan club Everton are currently at the front of the queue, while Arsenal and Tottenham are also reportedly keen. Wilkins, though, told talkSPORT that Mourinho must do everything in his power to keep the prolific 21-year-old striker at the Bridge.
"He has to come back to Chelsea in my opinion. This young man is the closest thing you’ll see to the 'Drog' [Didier Drogba] at such a young age," he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show.
Lukaku has been in fine form this season for the Toffees, scoring 16 goals in 33 appearances. The youngster also netted a hugely impressive 17 Premier League goals in 35 games the previous campaign, during a season-long loan spell with West Brom. Wilkins subsequently believe high-flyers Everton will struggle to replace Lukaku now that the Belgian’s loan is coming to an end.
"Lukaku scored 16 goals at Everton in the Premier League so [his departure] is a massive problem for Roberto Martinez, as it was for West Brom," Wilkins added. "He scored 17 for West Brom. He leaves, goes to Everton, then scores lots for them and West Brom nearly get relegated. It’s tough for Roberto."
Doubts remain over whether the £25m-rated Lukaku will still be a Chelsea player by the time the summer transfer window closes on September 2, but one thing is for sure: plenty of clubs will be willing to take him in order to have their own version of the legendary Drogba.