CHELSEA-BOUND Belgian wunderkind Romelu Lukaku has described his impending move as “a dream” – but for others in the already-crowded forward department at Stamford Bridge it may seem more like a nightmare.
Lukaku, 18, is expected to complete his move from Anderlecht this week following a medical, after the clubs agreed a £20m fee on Saturday, bringing to an end the scramble for one of the brightest prospects in Europe.
Despite his youth, the striker (below) is a formidable physical presence, already has two full seasons in the Belgian top flight under his belt, scoring 41 times in 98 appearances, and has amassed 10 international caps.
He has indicated he would not want to be sent straight out on loan – as Chelsea have with another young Belgian signing, the 19-year-old goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – and feels ready to challenge for a first-team place.
All of which leaves manager Andre Villas-Boas with something of a selection problem, and his current strikers looking over their shoulders. The new Chelsea manager has five players whose preferred position is centre-forward, yet currently favours a system using just one.
Even more trickily, two of those centre-forwards are very hard to drop – for different reasons. Didier Drogba’s age-defying form means he remains first choice to spearhead the attack, while it is too soon to write off Fernando Torres, just seven months after he cost £50m.
The extra competition will surely see Nicolas Anelka consigned to a wide forward role, a position Daniel Sturridge may have to get used to – he scored twice in that role against rangers on Saturday – if the young English striker is not sent out on loan again.
Lukaku revealed his joy at the move on Twitter yesterday, responding to a question on his favourite thing about Chelsea by saying: “The fans, the players… It’s just my dream team.”
FIVE STAR | CHELSEA’S STRIKERS
Chelsea Apps 306 Goals 144
Club career Apps 483 Goals 215
Chelsea Apps 18 Goals 1
Club career Apps 409 Goals 173
Chelsea Apps 167 Goals 58
Club Career Apps 597 Goals 198
Chelsea Apps 41 Goals 9
Club career Apps 85 Goals 23
Chelsea Apps N/A Goals N/A
Club career Apps 98 Goals 41