Jose Mourinho rarely makes mistakes as a manager. In fact his list of wrong decisions pales in comparison to the figure of those he has managed to get unerringly correct, and so it’s with a certain degree of smugness that people can pick the occasions when he has clearly, for lack of a better phrase, mucked up.
Of course he’ll never admit it himself, such is the proud nature of his character, but there’s few who can argue that relinquishing the services of Romelu Lukaku this season wasn’t a mistake. Regardless of the fact that the promising Belgian had bagged 17 goals in the Premier League last season for a West Brom largely bereft of quality supply lines, Mourinho opted to farm him out on loan last summer too, this time to Everton.
Coincidentally he’s performed pretty impressively at Goodison Park since, and whilst the trio of Demba Ba, Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o were the preferred options for The Special One, Lukaku was only four goals shy of their combined haul for this season’s campaign. A case for reconsideration on Mourinho’s part, surely?
Alas, as typifies his often controversial nature, the Blues boss doesn’t seem like he’s ready to admit that the decision not to put his faith in Lukaku was ill-advised. Recent reports would even have you believe that Mourinho is already busy putting into motion his plans for next season’s ideal set of three strikers, and the 21-year-old isn’t amongst them. Regardless of what you believe from the papers though, what can’t be denied is that Lukaku’s future at Stamford Bridge is a very precarious one indeed.
Meanwhile, a short journey away from his parent club, Arsene Wenger is busy trying to work his way round a very similar conundrum to his Chelsea counterpart; who to lead his line as of this summer. Olivier Giroud has improved this year it must be said, but he’s still some way off the type of frontman who will both strike fear into opposition defences and spear-head his side’s charge for major trophies.
This is where Lukaku would be perfect. A proven goalscorer in arguably the most competitive division in the world, he’s showcased the ability to not simply bully defenders into causing errors and becoming flustered when he’s lurking around, but also the talent and clinicality to capitalise on those mistakes and turn them into goals.
In short, Wenger would be foolish not to make a serious attempt to lure Lukaku to Arsenal. At his relatively tender age he’s young enough to be moulded into the type of player the Frenchman likes to deploy without too much resistance, and there’s plenty of reasons to suggest that he would be capable of getting more than 20 Premier League goals a year when placed ahead of a midfield packed with creative talent.
For me the idea of signing Lukaku should be made a priority, not just an after-thought. He may not be possessive of such a glittering reputation as the likes of Mario Mandzukic and Karim Benzema - both of who have been on Wenger’s radar in recent months - but his natural ability to thrive amongst the harsh conditions of the English game elevate him above them in terms of ticking the boxes that matter most.
It’s claimed that Chelsea value their loanee striker at around £30million. For a man who could quite easily be turned into the next Didier Drogba with the right guidance and access to adequate game-time, that’s an absolute steal.