Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku is convinced he is good enough to become a regular at Chelsea if he finally completes his protracted move to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have been monitoring Lukaku for some time after his scoring exploits with the Belgian club over the past two years, and reportedly had an £18m offer for him turned down last month.
The 18-year-old, who has also caught the attention of other leading European clubs, has regularly stated his desire to join Andre Villas-Boas' side despite the fact that he would face stiff competition for a first-team place. The manager already has a wealth of options up front, including Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres, but Lukaku is confident a move to London would pay off.
When asked if he is ready to play at Chelsea's level, the teenager told the Belgian daily Het Laatse Nieuws: "Absolutely. If I'm surrounded by players stronger even than those of Anderlecht, I have the ability to adapt quickly and raise my level. [Daniel] Sturridge, [Salomon] Kalou and [Nicolas] Anelka play on the flank and they have two central strikers, Drogba and Torres. [Even] when a club has three strikers for a position, they will always play games, because those clubs can play 70 matches a year. There may be players sold, so they need me. I will wait."
Real Madrid have also been strongly linked with the Belgium international, who scored 16 times for Anderlecht last season but, according to reports in Belgium, the club president Herman van Holsbeeck went to London yesterday to discuss a deal with the Blues. Lukaku wants his future resolved as soon as possible.
"Anderlecht and my agent are aware that this uncertainty is not good for the club or for me," Lukaku added. "They will fix things at some time in the future."
Meanwhile, Villas-Boas could be selling his first big-name player since arriving at Stamford Bridge, given Russian reports that Yuri Zhirkov is off to the free-spending Russian league side Anzhi Makhachkala. The defender moved to Chelsea for a reported £18m from CSKA Moscow in 2008 but has not been able to secure a regular starting place.
Villas-Boas' main goal at Chelsea must be to give the club its first Champions League trophy, and Ashley Cole is with him all the way. "It's something that when a player hasn't won it, they want to win it," Cole told Football Focus. "A lot of the players in this team have not won it, so the hunger is still there. You look back on your career and see what medals and big trophies you've won. A lot of the players have won the Premier League three times, so if they did finish without winning the Champions League it would kill them."Reuse content