Everton were pleased to have secured the striker on a permanent deal after his impressive performances the season before, during which he was on loan at the club, while Chelsea were happy to get such a large fee for their player.
Lukaku had never really had a chance at Stamford Bridge, having spent a season on loan at West Brom and then not being fancied by manager Jose Mourinho upon his return, subsequently being loaned out to Everton as a result.
That original loan came as a surprise to many given Chelsea’s lack of forward options last season, growing even more confusing as Lukaku continued to impress for the Toffees.
After Chelsea’s exit to PSG this week, that question will come up again. Much has been made of Diego Costa’s failure to impress in the Champions League this season while, at Goodison Park, Lukaku has flourished in the Europa League.
The Spaniard failed to score in any of his eight Champions League games this season, but Lukaku is the Europa League’s second top goalscorer. In fact, the Belgian is currently the second best player in the competition according to WhoScored, having contributed to an impressive 37% of his team’s goals throughout the tournament and being its second highest scorer.
In contrast, Costa failed to break into the top ten in both the group stages and the latter stages of the Champions League, finishing behind the likes of Sergio Aguero, Mario Mandzukic and several other of Europe’s top forwards.
Some will argue that it’s an unfair comparison given the difference in quality between both tournaments, but Everton have had a hard run so far in the Europa League.
In particular they’ve came up against German side Wolfsburg and beaten them twice, with Lukaku impressing in both legs, while he was also impressive against Dynamo Kiev on Thursday evening and Swiss side Young Boys in the last round.
On that front then, it appears that Chelsea, and Jose Mourinho in particular, missed a trick letting the Belgian go to Goodison Park this summer, especially in light of his excellent performances in the Europa League. While Costa has impressed in the league, Lukaku far outdoes him in Europe this season.
For now, Everton will hope he continues his fine form in the competition as they seek to progress further, while Chelsea will wonder what may have been.