Roberto Martínez has been Romelu Lukaku’s coach for almost ten years, first at Everton and then, since 2016, with the Belgium national team, so I suppose that does make him an authority on just what might make our wantaway striker tick.
And according to Martínez, it’s not rocket science. Big Rom just wants to feel bigly important. He’s, you know, very mature, you see, but you know, still just needs some love, you see. I mean that sounds like pretty much all that he’s ever wanted, but I guess it’s different now? Whoa, what’s happening here?! I guess like the Spice Girls, he now knows what he wants, what he really, really wants.
“He wants to be important and enjoy his football. I’m sure the decision in the summer will be the right one. [...] If he stays at Chelsea it will be for the right reasons. If he’s moving away it will be because everyone agrees to it.
“Romelu is a player I know very well. I managed him at club level (at Everton) at a very young age. He was 19 and had a very different position than he has now. Now he’s a player who is very mature and very clear what he wants.”
-Roberto Martínez; source: Mail
Obviously, Lukaku’s been less than bigly important at Chelsea despite the club paying a record fee to secure his return this time last year. In fact, he started just 29 games all season, and only 16 of those came in the Premier League — less than half of a 38-game season.
There are extenuating circumstances that we can point to, injuries and the like, and Lukaku finished the season on a decent note, just as he had started it on a good note, but it does feel like it would be best for all involved to hit the undo button on this one. Chelsea technical
director advisor Petr Čech does believe Lukaku will have a better season next year, but perhaps notably does not specify in which team that will occur.
“I personally believe he will have a great season. Last season we [saw] how strong he can be when he came. Unfortunately, the long term injury he sustained against Villa slowed everything down, and then he had Covid as well.
“We could see towards the end of the season when he was fit and ready to go how strong he is. We had a particular season with the Covid issues around Christmas. He was one of those players affected. I have full confidence he will bounce back and have a strong season.”
Hitting the proverbial undo button won’t be easy however. The latest in that regard comes from Corriere dello Sport, who claim that Inter are willing to take up the full burden of Lukaku’s salary, including bonuses, but are willing to pay only a token loan fee (€5m at most) and only for one season (i.e. not even an option to make it a permanent transfer), and without including any other player as part of the deal (i.e. if they are to lose Dumfries or Škriniar, they will want to maximize their values individually). Inter apparently still want to close on this one way or another by the end of the month, which should behoove us as well.
“I have full confidence that he will bounce back, he will have a strong season.”— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 9, 2022
Chelsea Technical and Performance Advisor Petr Čech says he still believes Romelu Lukaku has a future with the club despite strong links of a return to Inter Milan. pic.twitter.com/e1RKjYfNqL