Yesterday was a great day for Chelsea. It was less of a great day — a rather bad day in fact — for Everton and their current main attacking force, Romelu Lukaku. In their first home loss since January 15th, Everton posed little to no threat while giving up three goals at the other end, as Chelsea shut down service to Lukaku and controlled proceedings, especially in the second half. If Lukaku was looking at this game as an audition, he failed it by quite some margin.
But chances are, he wasn’t looking at this game as anything more than one more game in Everton’s now done and dusted season, where a seventh place finish and a spot in the Europa League qualifiers awaits. Lukaku knows his own qualities, and those looking to sign him know them as well. This one game will change none of that.
At Chelsea, the man looking to sign Lukaku is technical director Michael Emenalo, who signed him as a teenager once already only to see those grand plans go up in flames over the following seasons. He now possibly has a chance to undo those mistakes and get Lukaku back as the expected replacement for Diego Costa, who’s probably leaving this summer.
So when Lukaku and Emenalo were spotted having a friendly chat in the tunnel at Goodison Park on Sunday, it’s hardly surprising that the media went into a feeding frenzy.
The video, which has been trending on UK's YouTube feed, has been picked up by most news outlets with the usual suspects all spinning into a new round of Romelu Lukaku transfer rumours. But according others, like the usually reliable Kristof Terreur, it was really nothing but a chat. (For now...)
No, they didn't agree personal terms in the tunnel. Chat among friends. Lukaku is a Chelsea target, but no talks on going atm.— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) May 1, 2017
When Emenalo took his post as technical director at Chelsea in 2011, Lukaku was one of the club's first acquisitions under his guidance. Thus it should not be a surprise that the both of them are still friends, nor that Emenalo would want to bring back Lukaku. While head coach Antonio Conte supposedly would prefer Álvaro Morata — which has led some tabloids to go as far as to claim that there has been a "civil war" within Cobham — Emenalo looks to be winning this debate (in part due also to Lukaku being more available and Morata also attracting interest from Manchester United).
Emenalo and Lukaku may have nothing more than a friendly chat on Sunday, but with the transfer window just a month away, it will soon be time for some real talks, if we are serious about ensuring a proper transition at center forward.