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Rafael Benitez talks Lukaku, and it's not what we want to hear

Clive Rose

I don't want to spend my whole time complaining about Rafael Benitez and Fernando Torres. It comes across as whiny and on the inside it's soul-destroying. And yet, there are so many opportunities to complain compared very little in the way of good news. So, hey, I'm whiny. Ok!

Here is what I am whining about today:

We know [Romelu Lukaku] has been doing very well for West Brom. But it's maybe best for him to stay there where he is playing games for now, as it will be better for his future development.

-Benitez. Source: Mail.

That's the standard argument for keeping promising loanees at clubs where they're doing reasonably well, and Lukaku's been a very good impact substitute at West Brom. But this isn't a standard loan situation -- with Fernando Torres out of form and Daniel Sturridge some combination of injured and ineffective, it's very easy to suggest that the teenager would actually merit a starting spot at Chelsea, and he certainly wouldn't be getting any less time here than at the Hawthorns.

Which makes this quote by Benitez incredibly frustrating. It's possible to squint and find an argument that Lukaku wouldn't be starting for the Blues. I think said argument is wide of the mark, but it's not one which calls into question anyone's mental faculties. But the idea that he wouldn't get at least as much playing time with Chelsea as he does at West Brom? That requires some a certain amount of... um. Imagination.

When Benitez was brought in, I tried to resist the voices telling me that this was all about getting Torres semi-functional again. I don't really do the conspiracy theories business. But it's hard to resist the conclusion that we're going to persist with a misfiring striker when we have better options on the books. I could put my optimist's hat on and assume that this means we're going to bring in an actual centre forward in January, but yeah, not feeling so optimistic right now.

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