For those of you not familiar with Lukaku, this one might be the holy grail of all transfer targets. Chelsea has been pursuing him since the age of 13, but he and his father (who happens to be his agent) have insisted that he reamin in his native Belgium until he finished with school (which happens this June). Lukaku will likely be moving to one of the biggest clubs in Europe at some point this summer, and luckily for us he seems to prefer England:
I want to reach the highest level and win prizes. I want to win the Champions League, the Europa League also. I want to play in the Premier League and win some [league] titles or the Spanish league and win those titles. That is also a dream. I see the games and some action in the Premier League, with my qualities I think I can play there. I’m very fast, I’m very strong and I work a lot. If I train with players with more quality I can be better than I am here. I want to improve.
He breaks out an interesting little quote that should ignite real hope in Chelsea fans, but throws a little water on the fire at the same time:
Chelsea is my favourite team. I have always said it and I have never hidden it. But it is not because Chelsea is my favourite team that I have to go there. There is also Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. These big five are very interesting. Tottenham are also a good club. As a young kid you dream of playing in every big team. It is not because Chelsea is my favourite team that I have to specifically go there.
He also shares a little love for his favorite player:
My father was my hero when I was still a boy. I looked up to Cristiano Ronaldo, but it was always [Didier] Drogba for me. As I understand more and more about football I see the qualities I have and I can see myself in him [Drogba]. I have almost the same qualities and I want to follow in his footsteps and learn from him.
If you haven't seen it yet, he's also trained at Cobham for each of the last two summers, and here is a picture of him in his very own Chelsea kit last August. It looks like we've got a guy that loves Chelsea and wants to move to England, so we'll take a closer look at him after the jump.
Lukaku is 17, he'll be turning 18 in May. He's a 6'3" (and growing) center forward/striker who has the physical strength to operate on his own. He's been playing for RSC Anderlect of the Belgium first division. Last season, at the age of 16, he became the youngest player to ever win the league's golden boot. This season he's increased his scoring rate, and is poised to repeat the honor in his second (and likely final) full season in his home country. He also made his full international debut this year, scorin two goals in a friendly against Russia.
Lukaku is huge...physically he makes Didier Drogba look like Josh McEachran. He's also one of the fastest young players in Europe, and that benefits him playing in a very direct attack in Belgium. He normally plays as a lone striker, yet he still boasts one of the most impressive scoring records in Europe due to his ability to hold up play, get the ball to a smaller teammate, and then outrun his marker into space. He also is very dangerous in the air, so he's a big help on set pieces.
Here is a little compilation I found of Lukaku that shows a nice mix of his skills, strength, and speed. You'll note he looks an awful lot like Drogs, both physically and in his play style. One additional thing worth noting is that these are all 2009/2010 highlights, he's actually 2 inches taller and has put on about 30 more pounds of muscle at this point.
Here's another highlight. This one is only about 15 seconds, but it's absolutely ridiculous that he can do this:
This is a move that won't be happening until the summer, but we'll start hearing this one in the news daily from about 5 minutes after the season ends. He's going to be expensive to get, so in the end I think it's going to come down to City, Real Madrid (as a Chelsea fan, he loves Mou), and ourselves. Cross your fingers on this one, guys like this aren't easy to find. Couple that with the fact he'd have enough time here to qualify as "homegrown" before he turns 21, and he's likely the ideal transfer target for us this summer.