Chelsea sent 20-year-old Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku out on loan at West Brom last season where he ended up becoming one of the Premier League’s highest scorers with his impressive tally of 17 goals in all competitions.
Meanwhile, the Blues signed Senegal international Demba Ba from Newcastle United where he had also been one of the league’s leading scorers prior to his move.
Ba netted 13 goals for the Magpies in the first half of the season but managed just 6 for Chelsea in exactly the same number of games, and only two of that half a dozen were in the Premier League.
Whilst Lukaku enjoyed regular first-team football on loan, Ba shared his position up front with the goal-shy Fernando Torres. The Spaniard 22 goals in total across 64 appearances in all competitions.
The Blues ultimately came away from the season with the Europa League title and a place in the top four but after falling out of the title race domestically, as well as disappointing knock-outs in both the Capital One Cup and FA Cup, along with a unfruitful trip to Japan for the Club World Cup, Chelsea will have been glad to see the back of 2011/12 no doubt.
Jose Mourinho has now come in to replace the unpopular interim boss Rafael Benitez and the returning Portuguese coach has been welcomed with open arms. But will Romelu Lukaku be welcomed back in the same manner?
The Express reported this week that Demba Ba could be sent out on loan to West Brom next term, which would hint at Lukaku staying at Stamford Bridge. With the imminent arrival of a big name and top quality striker like Edinson Cavani and the potential departure of Torres, would it be the Belgian youngster that gets the best of opportunities under Mourinho?
It’s hard to see where Lukaku would get a decent run of games behind a new star signing, Torres, and Ba but if one or potentially both of the latter were go out, the youngster would certainly have opportunities to make his mark at Stamford Bridge and continue his development there.
The question, however, is who is more important to Chelsea now? When Ba signed in January, it was hoped he could continue in the same vein of form he’d enjoyed in the North East up until that point but failed to really make the grade for the Blues. With that in mind, surely Chelsea fans would rather see Lukaku get his chance to prove himself?
If Torres goes there is a definite window of opportunity open to the youngster where, conversely, it looks as if the door may now be closed on Demba Ba.
It certainly makes more sense to focus on developing such a promising talent who, at 20 years of age, has the potential to become a world-class goal-scorer - surely Romelu Lukaku should be the priority for Jose Mourinho if he's intending to build for the future?
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