Romelu Lukaku appears to have run out of patience with Chelsea, which could result in him re-joining Everton ahead of the 2014/15 season.
The Belgian international signed for the Stamford Bridge giants in August 2011, but he made just eight Premier League appearances during his debut campaign. Lukaku was shipped off to West Bromwich Albion for the duration of the following season, and thought 17 goals in 35 outings would earn him a chance with his parent club.
However, Jose Mourinho used him just twice as a substitute at the start of the campaign, and was happy to send him to Everton on loan for the remainder. Just as he did at the Hawthorns, the 21-year-old settled quickly at Goodison Park, and he chipped in with 16 goals from 33 appearances for the Merseyside club.
Ironically, had Chelsea retained the former Anderlecht youngster and given him sufficient game time, it may have been they and not Manchester City celebrating title glory last month. The Londoners relied on Demba Ba, Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres to score their goals last term, but they managed just 19 between them, with the goalscoring burden often being picked up by midfielder Eden Hazard.
It would seem natural that Mourinho would therefore recall Lukaku for next season, but with the relationship between the pair said to be rocky, the Portuguese has instead turned to Diego Costa who is set to join from Atletico Madrid for £32million. And with other reports suggesting he could also sign Ezequiel Lavezzi from Paris St Germain or Bayern Munich frontman Mario Mandzukic, the Belgium striker now appears to be prepared to leave the Blues on a permanent basis.
“You know Chelsea, every year they buy a new top striker,” said Lukaku. “I remember me coming into the dressing room last year and seeing Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba and going, ‘Whoah! What’s happening here?’ But no problem. Many clubs are interested in me. At this stage, I have to look to myself. I have to play a good World Cup. That’s very interesting for all the players looking for a transfer. And I must be one of them. Chelsea know my point of view.”
Chelsea paid £10million when they signed Lukaku three years ago, and despite his lack of action for the club, they are likely to demand double this amount to release him. The Daily Mail claim Everton have already opened talks with Mourinho’s side about a summer deal, as Roberto Martinez looks to build on the progress he has made at the Toffees since joining from Wigan Athletic last summer.
But unless the Merseyside club can push through a deal in the next few days, they could find themselves facing stiff competition if Lukaku impresses at the World Cup Finals. Indeed, should the youngster take the tournament by storm, he may even persuade Mourinho that he is worth a shot at Chelsea or, failing that, it could lead the London club to increasing his already handsome valuation.