We’ve all heard the news by now, Romelu Lukaku is a Chelsea player. I have to say I’m pleased with his signing, but yet have mixed feelings about his arrival, and I’ll explain why in a bit. First let’s look at what Lukaku could bring to the Chelsea squad.
Lukaku has been a prolific goal scorer for Anderlecht, having contributed an impressive 41 goals and 14 assists in 98 appearances for the Belgian club. He is gifted with outstanding physical attributes, stands tall and strong, yet manages to move at a blistering pace. Looking at these characteristics, any team or fan would be foolish not to get somewhat excited over this player. I am indeed excited about Lukaku. He will bring more speed and goal threat to Chelsea’s forward line, and could gradually learn to step into Didier Drogba’s shoes once the big Ivorian retires or leaves the club.
Another positive factor is that Lukaku’s long time dream has been to play for Chelsea. For that reason, you can expect him to be committed and give 100% to the club. Contrary to some analysts, I don’t see him as surplus in the squad. Chelsea has a lot of strikers in the roster, but only 2 real center forwards, in Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres. Based on pre-season matches, AVB seems keen on playing a combination of Malouda, Anelka, Kalou, Sturridge on the flanks, and deploying either Drogba or Torres as lone striker down the middle. As he himself accurately pointed out, this means Lukaku will be 3rd choice striker, and I expect him to get a decent amount of game time in his first season, knowing that Chelsea will be involved in 4 major tournaments.
All that being said, here is why I have mixed feelings about his signing. Lukaku will be a great squad player this season, and has the potential to become a world-class striker for many years to come. However, he does not address the clear current deficiencies in the squad. Chelsea’s squad has been lacking creativity both in midfield and upfront since Robben’s departure. No need to be a football expert to realize that. Early signs from the transfer market were positive as we were linked with players like Pastore, Sanchez, Neymar, Aguero, Modric and Hazard. This kind of players would have addressed the current blatant lack of pace and creativity within the squad. Instead, the club has bolstered an area that is not the most deficient right now. From what I have seen, Lukaku is not a very technical striker. To give an illustration, he is much more Andy Carrol than Luis Suarez, and what we need right now is our own Luis Suarez !!!
For our strikers to bang goals in, they need appropriate service. Players like Torres don’t become bad overnight, they need teammates able to play the killer pass to them. Fortunately, the transfer market is still open for another 20 days or so, and I hope that before it closes, Chelsea brings in at least 1 creative and tricky forward, with the ability to play on either flank or as a support striker, along with a playmaker. Anybody who’s read any of my previous articles would know that I thought Aguero was a perfect match for that role, but now that he’s gone, I think Eden Hazard could be the man for the job, very much like David Silva does for City, and Nasri for Arsenal. These are all players capable of playing on either wing, behind a striker, or through central midfield. As for the playmaker role, Sneijder would have been my number 1 choice, and Pastore 2nd. However, with neither of them likely to move to the Bridge, Modric becomes my obvious choice.
Let’s hope somebody at the club is working hard to make these deals happen.
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