Azonto Epistle 33: Romelu Lukaku Deserves a Fair Hearing At Chelsea
Two years back, I wrote an article to criticise Romelu Lukaku of talking too much and challenged him to “put up or shut up”. Roll on 2 years from then, when he was yet to make a mark in the Premier League after featuring mostly for the Chelsea reserve side and the young Belgian has lived up to the challenge thrown at him. At a tender age of 21 years, Lukaku’s professional career goals make him one of the best young strikers in the world, which includes a goal king at Anderlecht at the age of 17 years with 15 goals in the 2009-2010 season. He followed that up after his debut season by bagging in a further 20 goals in the 2010-2011 season. Despite these outstanding feat by a teenager, it had to be brushed aside when he came to the Premier League as a Chelsea player. He had to carve a niche for himself once more in the arguable most competitive league in the world and after Andre Villas-Boas failed to utilise him in the first team, Lukaku had to settle for the youth team which he humbly did and there too scored a lot of goals. This article is not going to be about the profile of Lukaku but we need to understand and know the personality we are talking about or we have in our hands before we can proceed to make our personal opinions and judgements.
When Lukaku had his major season with a premier league side on loan at West Bromwich, we all attest to his success after scoring as many as 17 goals for the Hawthorns including a hatrick against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United after coming on in the second half to leave a huge mark on the departing gaffer and the winners of the League title in that year. Perhaps that great performance by the boy impressed everyone in the world except Chelsea who sanctioned for his second loan spell with Everton despite none of our retained strikers, Fernando Torres, Demba Ba & Eto’o had the hunger, consistency and personality like Lukaku to spearhead our 4-2-3-1 formation. A season when none of the 3 strikers could command the first team spot as their own but was always about rotation due to lack of form or regular goal scoring either at our home ground (in the case of Torres as the manager attributed) or at away in the case of Eto’o. As for Demba Ba, he became useful only at the tail end of the season. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Sergio Aguero and Eden Dzeko were consistent for their teams anytime they were available. At the blue half of the Merseyside, a certain Romelu Lukaku was diligently going about his duties by scoring 14 goals and making assists and creating other chances with his towering personality upfront, helping Everton qualify for a European competition position.
After conquering all our tittle rivals, it is an open secret that Chelsea lost the league only because of lack of a recognisable striker to steamroll victory against many of the mid table and relegation threatened sides. Jose couldn’t hide this when he was always talking about a lack of firepower in our attack including a secrete tape where Jose was dismissing all our strikers. Was this an admission of mistake by Jose when they approved of Lukaku’s loan request? It is said that the boy asked for it but we know if Jose believed in him he would have stopped it; so end of argument. We are not here to apportion blame, besides Jose would be the last person to blame since he takes every decision of the Club in our best interest. Lukaku went to Everton and his loan has been successful so kudos to everyone involved. It is time to bring him back to the club he signed for, a club he loves and a club he has said it time and again that he wants to represent.
Signing Diego Costa will help Lukaku and Chelsea to add the young Belgian to the former Atletico hitman as our second striker. Having a recognisable frontman like Costa will ease the fears and pressure on the manager to give Lukaku a chance in the team (if Jose still has doubts about Lukaku). To have Romelu Lukaku and Diego Costa is a huge upgrade of our striking force and better than the ones we had. I believe the club will take the prudent decision to offload Torres and Ba and give Costa and Lukaku a clean slate to make their mark. Torres has been with us for 3 seasons now, he is not growing younger and we have seen what he brings to the club. It is time we cut our losses, free our wage bill and let him go. If Samuel Eto’o who impressed more than Torres has been cut lose, it will be extremely unwise (if not foolish) to retain him and not give Costa the opportunity to make his mark. Torres has had his time, we let Drgoba go just to give him his chance and it is time to let him go to give a more ambitious duo of Costa and Lukaku a chance.
Lukaku has proven himself and Chelsea should never make the mistake of letting him go either on a loan or full transfer. His characteristics as a striker are rare to find all in one player, at his age of 21, what he needs is full confidence and assurance as Steve Clark and Roberto Martinez gave him and we will be having a world striker in our books for the next 15 years. Chelsea, please this time around Romelu Lukaku has earned himself a right to fair hearing in our team lets not make the mistake and natural injustice of denying him this right.
Chelsea family, your thoughts are welcome.
By Seth Aborah Adusei (Twitter @ sethaadusei)