As you may know, Romelu Lukaku became only the third player to ever score a hattrick against Manchester United on Sunday. Even better, he did it as a substitute, scoring three times in 26 minutes in West Bromwich Albion's absurd 5-5 draw. It was a fitting going away present from Chelsea to Sir Alex Ferguson, but it also probably marks the end of the youngster's Albion career.
This year's been a bit of a triumph for Lukaku, who turned 20 on May 13th. He made a good first impression at the Hawthorns by making Jamie Carragher soil himself in the first match of the season, and has hardly cooled off since. He's still a touch raw, but his technique has improved since we saw him last year and his sheer power does horrible, horrible things to defenders.
Ben Foster, for one, will miss him. In addition to calling the Belgian a club 'legend', he preemptively lectured the Blues for failing to bringing him back to Stamford Bridge next season.
There's no way he's coming back here next season, Chelsea would be fools to let him come back with the way their forward line is mis-firing. He is exactly what they need at the minute.
Rom came on and changed it against Manchester United. Fair play to him. As soon as he came on you could see that they were physically scared of him. He dominated everything that came his way. We cannot complain. He's come on and scored a hat-trick. It was a fitting send-off. He has done so much for us and I'm really happy for him because he is such a nice lad.
I don't think the situation is as clear-cut as Foster paints it, but he certainly has a strong point. Lukaku has been by far the most effective of any of Chelsea under-contract strikers this year, and he hasn't even been playing for the club. His growth with West Brom has been amazing, and he clearly could fit into the setup next year, even if he's possibly not quite ready to take on the number one duties with the Blues next season.
At the same time, Chelsea could easily decide that Radamel Falcao, Robert Lewandowski or Edinson Cavani are a significantly better bet to catapult the club back into the elite, and although Lukaku's done well on limited playing time last year he may well be better off elsewhere until he's ready to challenge at that level.
I think 'fools' is overstating things, but it's good to see a player with such natural raw talent held in such high regard as a human being by even his temporary teammates.