It's okay, it's football's silly season, I'm used to hearing stupid things about clubs' plans for players. I'm pretty sure Chelsea have been linked to just about every Real Madrid player* at this point, and Jose Mourinho isn't officially our manager yet. With that it in mind, it takes something monumentally-stupid to amaze me. Thankfully for those of us in the mood for a laugh, West Ham's David Sullivan has provided us with something amazing.
[*Iker Casillas excluded, for obvious reasons.]
"Lukaku would be a loan again. We'd maybe buy him a year later if Chelsea decide they don't want him.
"If we sign Andy, it would be a record signing for the club. He and Romelu would be devastating. The best strike-force outside of the top six or seven.
"Lukaku has been amazing for West Brom this season and I'd hope that he would prefer to live in London."
At this point, the idea of Romelu Lukaku going on loan next season shouldn't be a surprising one. That's not to say there aren't good arguments for keeping him at Chelsea next season, but the possibility shouldn't be surprising at this point. What would be surprising, however, would be a loan to West Ham. It just makes no sense whatsoever. Well, it makes sense for West Ham. If there's a club outside the Top 6 in the Premier League who wouldn't take him without question, they should really be relegated on principle.
That said, it's hard to see what Chelsea or Lukaku would stand to gain from it. I don't know how familiar you are with West Ham and their manager, but Sam Allardyce teams have a not-at-all-undeserved reputation for less-than-spectacular. You couldn't be more Route 1, even if you went from Tottenham Court Road to Canada Water.* Despite being a giant striker who possesses an equally-giant amount of strength, Lukaku is a much more technical player than, say, Andy Carroll, who would be his likely strike partner.
[*Yes, I made a London Buses joke. Deal with it.]
While he hasn't always played a with the best technique this season, he's definitely been improving in that respect. Given that, with our recent signings, Cobham is slowly turning into the Shire, it's not hard to imagine that we're going to be looking for all of our players to play in a more sophisticated style in the years to come. If we also assume that Lukaku is being groomed to become our leading man up front in that system, then West Ham makes absolutely no sense as a loan destination for him.
Currently, Swansea are believed to be in pole position for him next season, due to their twin advantages of European football following their League Cup triumph and not having a quality striker to speak of. Their tendency to play more-technical, attractive football is also a definite positive, even if our history with Swansea loans is less-than-fantastic. I don't think there's really any problem with him going on loan at Swansea, honestly, but there is another option.
I obviously have a vested interest, but West Bromwich Albion have got to to be vastly-superior to West Ham in terms of loan destination if European football isn't ultimately a factor. Not only are they not managed by Sam Allardyce, but they're a decent side who will probably be in need of some help front again next year. Plus, you know, it's a club where he wouldn't have any trouble settling or winning over the supporters. They love him, and he loves it there.
We could send him to a Champions League club abroad, of course, but given that Chelsea seem to want to keep him in England, there are relatively-few good places to send him. Of course, when I say "good," I mean clubs who will use him and keep up with his development. That's definitely West Ham. He'd certainly be good there, and would probably bang in a lot of goals, but at what cost? His development would almost certainly take a hit under Allardyce. Add to that that Sullivan seems to harbour fantasies of keeping him on a permanent basis, and you get a situation where Chelsea should really just not take West Ham's calls. I mean they're a club jointly-owned by a guy who says things like, "I'd hope that he would prefer to live in London." Come on!