The Chelsea striker, Romelu Lukaku, has said that he wants to be somewhere “where I can play my best football” – an indication that he has no desire to return to Stamford Bridge from his Everton loan spell if it means he is consigned to obscurity.
The 21-year-old revealed he has still had no conversation with Chelsea about his future since leaving last September. He said his preference was for a club “where the most ambition is and where is the best place for me to do develop as a young player”.
Lukaku had a disappointing World Cup, missing out on a starting place in Saturday’s quarter-final to the 19-year-old Liverpool target Divock Origi and being substituted by the hour mark in two group stage games. Though he also said after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Argentina that he wants to “hopefully win titles”, the Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, would be willing to throw the vast majority of his summer transfer budget at signing him, if Chelsea were willing to sell. Martinez believes that the striker had an impact on every game he played at Everton last season.
Another loan season on Merseyside is also possible for Lukaku. The Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, who has signed Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid, may offer the Belgian a new contract and send him out again, in the hope ultimately of making a handsome profit on the £18m the club paid Anderlecht for him three years ago. Everton would expect to be asked for £20m to sign Lukaku permanently.
The view from the Belgian camp at the World Cup is that Martinez has already played a highly significant role in the past year, in developing Lukaku from a target man into a player technically better equipped to interact and play off the midfield.
Yet, talented though Lukaku may be, some in the camp believe that he is still not as good as he thinks he is. “I’ve played a lot of games and scored and a lot of goals and now I want to win titles and become one of the best,” Lukaku said.