Paul Lambert admits he was interested in Romelu Lukaku last summer, and would have loved to have seen him link up with Christian Benteke.
Chelsea signed Lukaku from Anderlecht in a £16million deal back in the summer of 2011, but he endured a difficult debut campaign in England as he struggled to make an impact at Stamford Bridge. To allow him to get more first team experience, the Blues made him available on loan the following season, and he joined West Bromwich Albion.
The 20-year-old scored 17 goals in 35 outings for the Baggies, as he proved himself more than capable of making his mark in the Premier League. Those goals, though, could have came in the claret and blue of Villa, had Lambert pressed on with his interest. Instead he settled for another Belgian, Benteke, who has been superb since his arrival from Genk, but the Scot can only dream of what might have been had he paired them together.
“I remember when I first came in here I spoke to Chelsea about Lukaku before we saw Christian,” said Lambert. “I knew about him and this club needed somebody to be that type of player. Obviously we couldn’t afford that at that time and Christian came in. The rest is history, as they say. I would have tried to get Christian as well, probably. What would they have been like together? You really don’t know, but they’re two powerful lads.”
Lukaku had hoped to force his way into the Chelsea side this season, but despite starting as part of Jose Mourinho’s squad, he will spend the campaign on loan at Everton. He has been in sparkling form since arriving at Goodison Park, with four goals in as many games. Lambert will get a close look at the youngster on Saturday afternoon, when Roberto Martinez takes his Toffees side to Villa Park for the ninth round of Premier League fixtures.