Romelu Lukaku wasted at Chelsea

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Football News

Jose Mourinho likes to have a wealth of options at his disposal, that much is abundantly clear.

A look back at the clubs he has successfully managed over the last ten years highlights a correlated pattern in the way that none of them were ever without plenty of attacking options.

Perhaps this is the answer then to those wondering why the Portuguese manager retained the services of young forward Romelu Lukaku this season, rather than leasing him on loan for a second successive spell.

The Belgian striker made his name in the Premier League last season whilst under the tutelage of Steve Clarke at West Brom. Not only did he net 17 times, but Lukaku was a huge presence going forward and at times was almost unplayable for the majority of centre-backs.

At the beginning of this season none would have questioned why Mourinho would keep the 20-year-old for himself this time out, but with the way things are shaping up in terms of his preferred line-up, I've come to wonder exactly why Lukaku wasn't given the opportunity to consistently play first-team football elsewhere for this year at least.

With Fernando Torres, as incapable as some might believe he is, Demba Ba and new signing Andre Schurrle at his disposal, Mourinho may be keeping Lukaku at the club at a time when it might suit his personal development better to be plying his trade somewhere else.

If Chelsea's pursuit of another striker, be it Wayne Rooney or an alternative, comes to a desirable conclusion, then Lukaku could find himself competing with as many as four other forwards for Mourinho's eye.

Consider then that the Chelsea boss often favours playing a lone striker supported by other playmakers, and the odds of the big Belgian managing to notch up impressive game time become increasingly unfavourable.

It's not that the former Anderlecht man doesn't have talent, nor is it that Mourinho is failing to acknowledge a gem within his squad. I think it's rather that Mourinho will experiment until he finds his perfect formula, and taking into account the fact that Lukaku has only managed two appearances as a substitute this season, and didn't get any game time in the first big test of the campaign against United last night, along with Mourinho's persistence in his desire to bring Wayne Rooney to the club, the striker could well be left frustrated in his hunt for first-team football.

There are few clubs in the top-flight that would have rejected Chelsea had they proposed a loan deal for Lukaku. West Brom would undoubtedly have taken him back for another year, and considering how much he developed as a player in his time at the Hawthorns, that may have been the most beneficial of scenarios on the cards.

It's obvious that Mourinho has kept him on for a reason, and I'm not by any means suggesting I'm in a position to say he is wrong, but in my opinion Lukaku could do with another year's Premier League experience, racking up games and goals consistently, not struggling for game time and feeding off the scraps that he's left should his manager opt for an alternate striker.

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