On 13 May 1993, in the City of Antwerp, a future Premier League star took his first steps in the world.
Romelu Lukaku comes from a footballing family. His father – Roger Lukaku – was a professional footballer.
As a kid, he watched his father play in the lower divisions of Belgian national league. But he set his bars high and eyed the mega-riches of Premier League.
The striker supported Chelsea and idolised Didier Drogba – the man for big occasions for Chelsea. After several stints for local sides, Anderlecht had knocked Lukaku’s doors in hopes of getting his signatures. The answer was affirmative as his brother Jordan Lukaku accompanied him at the Belgian club kickstarting their professional careers.
Feeling of a superman
Everyone has a soft corner for firsts. For Lukaku, it felt as if he had been a Superman. His first goal at senior made him ‘dive into a sea of happiness’
He spoke fondly of debut by mentioning: ‘You think you are flying and can take on the whole world.’
Move to Chelsea
Two seasons, 33 goals and a successful league campaign later, Lukaku rose into the limelight as he attracted several big European clubs. Chelsea were one of them.
Chelsea were quick to capitalise on Lukaku’s fandom as the club saw the next Drogba in the striker. Expectations were high, and his physique and determination were thought to be perfect ingredients for a goal machine in English football. However, he featured only for reserves in his first season.
Naturally, he was frustrated with the opportunities given; so much that he had refused to hold Chelsea’s Champions League trophy as he hadn’t felt like a winner.
Chelsea have a long history of not trusting young players. Chelsea’s only successful academy graduate in past decade is John Terry.
The 23-year-old was a victim of this system within Chelsea’s ranks. Despite moving to England as a proven goalscorer in Belgium, Chelsea’s youth policy turned out to be an obstacle for the striker. The Blues opted for their usual loan system and loaned the former Anderlecht man to West Brom.
Things were completely different at the Hawthorns. He rose to the occasion with 17 goals for the Baggies in his second season in Premier League.
His dreams of marching into the Stamford Bridge with Chelsea crest looked just a whisker away. But a place in the Chelsea squad became an asymptote for the forward. His last penalty miss in the Super Cup gave Jose Mourinho enough reasons to loan him again and instead buy veteran Samuel Eto’o.
Loan move to Everton
Romelu Lukaku’s next destination was Merseyside club – Everton under Roberto Martinez. A loan move wasn’t certainly in mind of the Belgian striker when he returned to Stamford Bridge with 17 goals in his name – no Chelsea striker scored as many goals that season. However, it was an opportunity to prove his permanent club wrong – and he did so by continuing to score Premier League goals at a proficient rate.
Despite his injury problems, he bagged 15 goals in 31 appearances for the Toffees in his first season.
Permanent transfer to Everton and Personal woes
The start of 2014-15 season brought several personal problems for the Belgian striker. He was ready for a fight in Chelsea’s starting lineup. However, money in offer swayed Chelsea’s attractions. The striker agreed to a permanent move to Everton after a lack of trust shown by the then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on him.
His father was ill and spent majority of his time at the hospital while his son starred in World Cup for Belgium. The woes continued as his childhood friend Junior Malanda died in a car accident.
With several distractions in his way, he suffered a severe loss of form in the early stages of the season. Everton got too dependent on their multi-million front man, and Lukaku failed to live up to the expectations. However, much like his idol Didier Drogba, it isn’ t in Lukaku’ s character to give up. The death of his friend presented with realities of life. It comes with several uncertainties and mishaps along the way – and football isn’t just about fun anymore. Being successful in football became a mission for Lukaku now – as he realised he was fortunate enough to live and express his talent.
Two years later, today, Lukaku has converted himself to become a goal-machine. He is an integral part of Belgium’s golden generation. He has scored 17 goals in 25 appearances for Everton so far this season – which puts him in a fighting position for the golden boot.
The Belgian has been clinical in front of the goal – and his dribbles and energetic running in counters have helped Everton come back from a poor start to the season.
Everton a stepping stone for the Belgian
Romelu Lukaku is a wanted man in world football right now – with rumours of PSG and Bayern Munich interested in the purchase of the starlet.
Even manager Ronald Koeman doesn’t believe the Belgian International will do himself justice by staying at Everton forever.
Speaking of his star’s potential, he said: “His potential is greater and higher than Everton as a final destination.”
For Chelsea, it was certainly a mishap in the judgment of the player.
Diego Costa looks a player ready for departure, and they are seeking to sign someone to replace the Spaniard. While it sounds like a bad business in their part – Chelsea isn’t a club shy to rectify their mistakes. They bought Matic for 30 million pounds having sold him for peanuts.
The target is to be the best and win trophies. After all, Romelu has earned himself a name of a deadly striker.
He is certainly happy at Everton, but a player like him won’t stick without European football for long.
Blues look to correct their mistakes
There is something rather fascinating about growing up as a fanboy for a particular club. You always seem to have a soft spot for them. The former Chelsea man certainly realises it – and he was honest when he said he’ll forever remain a Chelsea fan.
With Blues almost sure of a Champions League qualification next season – and the Toffees striker’s history of supporting them as a boy – Chelsea will have enough in their arsenal to attract him again.
If Chelsea signs Everton’s front man – this time he will be their star man. He might have had bitter memories of not playing a part in their Champions League clinch, but if he joins Chelsea again, he will surely be in the centre of the frame holding the trophies with pride.