Jul 20, 2014, 9:23 AM EDT
Just yesterday, it seemed as though Romelu Lukaku was on the verge of signing a permanent deal with Everton. Chelsea manager José Mourinho looked unlikely to ever give him the time needed to establish himself with the club, and Lukaku had made it clear that he did not want to be loaned out yet again. He’d spent last season on loan with Everton, and Roberto Martínez was anxious to make that deal permanent.
Today, however, reports suggest that Mourinho wants to give Lukaku the opportunity to prove himself before deciding on the Belgian’s future. According to reports, the manager wants to see Lukaku in action during the Blues’ preseason friendlies. Chelsea are off to Austria and Slovenia this week, but it is expected that the forward will join them next week, when they face Eredivisie side Vitesse.
Lukaku has made just fifteen appearances for Chelsea since joining from Anderlecht in 2011. He spent the 2011-12 season on loan at West Bromwich Albion, then spent last season with Everton, where he scored 15 goals.
Chelsea’s top goalscorer last season, Eden Hazard, notched 14 goals in the Premier League. The squad’s strikers — Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba — put in 19 total. Now Eto’o is without a club and Ba will play for Beşiktaş.
Mourinho is attempting to supplement his strike force, however, bringing in Diego Costa from Atlético Madrid. The 25-year-old scored 27 goals in 35 La Liga appearances last season, as well as eight in nine Champions League games. That will go some way to addressing Chelsea’s low goal talley — if he remains fit.
Of course, Chelsea can also go it without a true center-forward, turning to fellow new signing Cesc Fàbregas, super-sub André Schürrle or Hazard. But Lukaku would give the Blues a different option, and it’s certainly worth Mourinho evaluating his talent before he elects to sign away the 21-year-old.
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