Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had the best young striker in world football at his disposal and has once again proved young players don't get a chance at Stamford Bridge by allowing him to walk away.
That is the stark truth facing Blues fans today as news emerges that Everton have agreed a £25m deal to sign the Belgian starlet permanently, with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba returning to replace the young powerhouse rather than serve as his mentor.
Mourinho has been at pains this week to claim that three academy players will be part of his first-team squad and given every opportunity to shine in the long-term, but quite frankly his words ring hollow when you consider his treatment of Lukaku.
Clash of personalities
In fairness to Mourinho its quite clear that him and Lukaku just didn't gel, but what more could the 21-year-old do to prove he deserved a chance in West London?
Only Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie have scored more Premier League goals than Lukaku over the last two seasons, with a whopping 53 and 38 respectively. Lukaku has 32 and has shown in successive loan spells that he can cut it in England and then some, just ask West Bromwich Albion of Toffees fans.
Chelsea were clearly in dire need of a goalscorer last season and Lukaku easily outperformed Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o, with the Blues trio toiling while the Belgian powerhouse smashes in 15 goals at Goodison Park.
Mourinho has moved for Diego Costa in a £32.5m deal and rather more surprisingly Drogba as a short-term option, but Lukaku had earned the right to return and fight for a starting spot and his exit should send alarm bells ringing amongst the Chelsea faithful.
Jose's way or the highway
Lukaku is just the latest potential Chelsea star to be sold because he didn't fit the Mourinho mould, a trend that has become commonplace since the Portuguese tactician made an emotional return to England last summer.
Mourinho didn't think Juan Mata had the workrate or tactical nous to fit his philosophy and was happy to let him sign for bitter rivals Manchester United in a £37.1m January deal.
David Luiz followed Mata out of the exit door last month for a quite staggering £50m, but in both cases Chelsea got the best possible fee for stars who provided important contributions to the first team and became cult heroes as a result of their efforts.
Lukaku's case is very different, with immense raw talent never truly given the platform to shine by Chelsea because Mourinho must deliver immediate success.
Frustratingly for Blues fans every time Lukaku now delivers for Everton, and I fully expect that to be week-in, week-out, Mourinho's decision will be thrown back under the microscope.
Mourinho pay point to Lukaku's lacklustre World Cup as reason to justify his decision, but his Belgium team-mate Eden Hazard hardly set the world alight and is still considered a world-class operator.
Chelsea must win trophies this season, but their chances would have been significantly strengthened by keeping Lukaku and that's what makes Mourinho's decision the wrong one, whatever rhetoric he tries to spin on the subject over the next 12 months.
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