Simon Bunn argues that if Romelu Lukaku was given the chance at Chelsea he would have scored 23 goals this season so far.
At the start of the season Chelsea had only three recognised senior strikers in their ranks, those being Fernando Torres, Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku. The powers that be at Stamford Bridge then decided it a shrewd move to deplete their forward options further by sending Lukaku on loan to West Bromich Albion for the season.
At that stage of the campaign Daniel Sturridge was also recovering from niggling injuries, meaning that the only real senior striker in Chelsea’s armour was a very dented and fragile Fernando Torres.
January came and little was done by Chelsea to appease their striker worries. Yes the club wisely activated the bargain £7m clause in Newcastle’s Demba Ba’s contract but, they also let Sturridge sign for Liverpool. It was a transfer turnover that left Chelsea still with only two senior strikers, one of which (the blonde one) couldn’t hit the side of a Renault Espace.
Meanwhile Chelsea’s out on loan striker Romelu Lukaku can’t stop scoring. You can look on Chelsea’s decision to send their Belgian youngster out on loan in one of two ways:
1) Sheer stupidity
2) A safe risk that has proven Lukaku has what it takes to be a formidable Premiership striker.
Lukaku has been a revelation for Steve Clarke’s Baggies this season. Not many will have doubted his potential but, some may be surprised at appearing so accomplished so soon in his career. You must of course remember that Lukaku is still only 19 years of age.
Lukaku has always scored goals. Having only just turned 13, at Belgian youth side Lierse, he scored 121 goals in 68 games for the club. In three years as a youth player for Anderlecht he managed 131 goals in 93 games. When making the step up to the senior squad Lukaku was only 16, yet went on to score 33 goals in 73 appearances for the club.
The 6ft 3inch Belgian has continued his natural born ability to score goals at WBA. Lukaku has started 12 games for West Brom in the Premier League this season and can boast a record of 12 Premier League goals scored. The mathematicians amongst you will be able to proudly work out that represents a ratio of a goal a game.
In comparison Fernando Torres has started 23 Premiership games for Chelsea this season, scoring 7 times. That is a ratio of a goal every 3.3 games. Including his time at Newcastle Demba Ba has made 22 Premiership starts this season, scoring 14 goals. That is a ratio of a goal every 1.6 games.
Taking these statistics into consideration, as well as Lukaku’s youth history as a proven goal scorer, it is safe to say that the young Belgian would have scored 20 goals or more for Chelsea this season, if given the chance. Given his goal a game ratio for games started at WBA, if Lukaku had started the 23 games that Torres has at Chelsea he would be looking at tally of 23 goals. With all due respect to West Brom it could also be argued that, in general, Chelsea would create more chances during a game than the Baggies. That means that Lukaku would have even more opportunity to find the back of the net.
Chelsea have been linked heavily with Athletico Madrid’s Falcao this season. There is no question that whatever club does manage to secure the services of the prolific Columbian they will have an outstanding player on their hands. But, apart from the status, big game experience, and excitement that Falcao would bring to Stamford Bridge they may not really need him.
Chelsea already own a raw 19 year old that is on his way to proving he could score 20 plus goals a season if given the chance. What’s more Lukaku has already proclaimed his desire to become a Chelsea legend, just like Didier Drogba. Next season why not let that journey begin?
image: © wshjackson