Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan to West Brom, has been in brilliant form for the Baggies this season. The young Belgian has scored 13 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions and has been a key member of Steve Clarke’s squad. But it’s not just the fact that he is scoring goals that is impressive.
Romelu Lukaku has developed in leaps and bounds. When he joined West Brom, he could most certainly score goals, but he had a poor first-touch, non-existent link-up play and little confidence on the ball. That’s all changed now. At West Brom, Lukaku has gotten plenty of game time and has improved many aspects of his game as a result. Aside from his physical strength, Lukaku has improved his first touch and he now has the ability to run at defenders with the ball. That’s something that makes him a lot more dangerous given his impressive physique. A well-built, strong striker with the ability on the ball to beat a man is a defender’s worst nightmare. And that is exactly the type of player Lukaku is becoming.
Many fans have been amazed at his development and cannot wait to see him in a Blue shirt next season. However, is Romelu Lukaku good enough for Chelsea at the moment? The jury’s still out on that.
One cannot deny the fact that Lukaku has been impressive at West Brom. However, to expect him to simply replicate this form should he return to Chelsea next season would be unrealistic. The pressure of playing for West Bromwich Albion cannot be compared to the pressure of playing for Chelsea. No disrespect to West Brom, but they aren’t a top side always competing for trophies. Chelsea are a little different in that respect. The Blues are always looking to compete for trophies; the more the club win, the better it is. The fact that Chelsea are always looking to win trophies means that every game the club plays is a must-win. This, in turn, puts added pressure on the players to go out and give their best.
Lukaku, despite all his ability, is still a youngster. If he is unable to take the pressure of constantly performing at the highest level, it could very well stall his progress. Playing week-in and week-out for West Brom where there is little or no pressure is a lot easier than playing for Chelsea, a club where there is always pressure to win games.
Instead of retaining Lukaku next season, it would be better if the Board chose to loan him out to another club where he could get regular playing time and also take part in the Champions League, preferably a foreign club as strengthening domestic rivals would hardly be advisable. This way, he could further his development by playing regular football while also getting a taste of the pressures of playing in the Champions League. A year without playing Champions League football was the only drawback in what can be considered an otherwise successful loan spell at West Brom.
If he does indeed go out on loan for another year and gets to play in Europe’s top club competition while out on loan, one can be sure that he will be 100% ready to play for Chelsea in the 2014-15 season.