I'm sure by this point you've all seen the interview with Romelu Lukaku where he makes it clear he wants to play more. I think we'd all like to see him play more as well, the big question is where to find minutes for the big Belgian. There are two real options for Lukaku as I see it, either remaining with Chelsea this season or heading out on a loan to get more minutes. There's little question that a loan spell would see Romelu get more minutes than he would at Chelsea, but staying at Chelsea would have it's perks as well. So let's take a look at some of the factors in each course of action. First up, staying at Chelsea.
Should we decide to keep Romelu here, it likely means that whomever the manager is sees more than a Carling Cup role for him. It was clear that Lukaku looked physically improved as the season progressed, so there were obvious benefits involved with keeping him at Cobham this season. That said, Lukaku needs to play more if we want to see him begin to make quicker and better decisions. There will be bumps in the road if we keep him here, but doing so would potentially save us a few million pounds that no longer need to be used on center forward depth. If we decide on a loan, we will certainly need at least one more player capable of playing the position even if we do indeed sign HULK.
A loan will in all likelihood be to a club where we'd expect him to play a major role. He'll have less talented teammates around him, which is always a concern for a center forward that relies on others to get him the ball. It's also out of our hands at that point as to how often he'd play. Results matter to other teams as well, and if Romelu doesn't score early and often he could easily see himself relegated to the bench. Having him play rarely on loan would be far worse than having him play rarely at Chelsea, as at least the latter would give him the chance to work with his Chelsea teammates and coaches. Chelsea do not have the best track record with Premier League loans, and even some of our continental ones have been somewhat poorly thought out.
This is not likely to be resolved in the next several weeks, but it's something to think about none the less. Daniel Sturridge and his expiring contract will likely play a part in this decision, as will any other purchases the club makes. More importantly, though, will be the decision the club makes on a new manager. What they plan to do formation-wise will largely impact the time available for Lukaku, so hiring a manager soon would certainly be nice in that regard. Management vacancies aside though, I've got another poll for you all to vote in. Have at it...