Just yesterday, it seemed as though Romelu Lukaku was on the verge of signing a permanent deal with Everton. Chelsea manager José Mourinho looked unlikely to ever give him the time needed to establish himself with the club, and Lukaku had made it clear that he did not want to be loaned out yet again. He’d spent last season on loan with Everton, and Roberto Martínez was anxious to make that deal permanent.
Today, however, reports suggest that Mourinho wants to give Lukaku the opportunity to prove himself before deciding on the Belgian’s future. According to reports, the manager wants to see Lukaku in action during the Blues’ preseason friendlies. Chelsea are off to Austria and Slovenia this week, but it is expected that the forward will join them next week, when they face Eredivisie side Vitesse.
Lukaku has made just fifteen appearances for Chelsea since joining from Anderlecht in 2011. He spent the 2011-12 season on loan at West Bromwich Albion, then spent last season with Everton, where he scored 15 goals.
Chelsea’s top goalscorer last season, Eden Hazard, notched 14 goals in the Premier League. The squad’s strikers — Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba — put in 19 total. Now Eto’o is without a club and Ba will play for Beşiktaş.
Mourinho is attempting to supplement his strike force, however, bringing in Diego Costa from Atlético Madrid. The 25-year-old scored 27 goals in 35 La Liga appearances last season, as well as eight in nine Champions League games. That will go some way to addressing Chelsea’s low goal talley — if he remains fit.
Of course, Chelsea can also go it without a true center-forward, turning to fellow new signing Cesc Fàbregas, super-sub André Schürrle or Hazard. But Lukaku would give the Blues a different option, and it’s certainly worth Mourinho evaluating his talent before he elects to sign away the 21-year-old.
Max Meyer picked up from his remarkable Olympics by firing home, and Mesut Ozil also scored for the Germans in a match that was not about the winner. Bastian Schweinsteiger called it a day on his international career in the win, his 121st cap. The Manchester United man finishes his career with 24 goals, a World Cup title and a EURO runner-up finish. Not too shabby.
ROI all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane fittingly ended his tenure as an international player with yet another goal, bringing his career tally to 68 goals in 146 caps. Stoke City’s Jon Walters scored twice for the Boys in Green, and Robbie Brady (Norwich) also netted in the win.
It took the hosts a half-hour to break down the visitors, but a pair from Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen opened the floodgates and Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer and Jens Stryger Larsen finished the scoring in a blowout at the CASA Arena in Horsens. It was Larsen’s first cap.
Elsewhere Turkey 0-0 Russia
Albania 0-0 Morocco
Estonia 1-1 Malta
Norway 0-1 Belarus
Lebanon 1-1 Jordan
3. Dieumerci Mbokani, loan from Dynamo Kyiv to Hull — While Robbie Brady, Timm Klose, and Nathan Redmond got a lot of the headlines, Mbokani was a powerful part of the Canaries’ attack in an ill-fated campaign. At 30 he’s far from a long-term fix, but Mbokani should provide strength and skill to a Hull City side facing a very challenging campaign. Per 90 minutes, no one on Norwich touched him last year (courtesy advanced stats site Squawka):
2. Jack Wilshere, loan from Arsenal to Bournemouth — We want so badly to make this our No. 1 for many reasons, but can’t take that risk thanks to the risk presented by Wilshere’s injury history. For Jeff Mostyn, Eddie Howe, and the Cherries to win the rights to bring Wilshere to town is big for a lot of reasons. That Arsene Wenger allowed him to go is another. Frankly, this could be a game changer for two clubs’ PL fortunes.
— Honorable mention — Wilfried Bony is a nice pick-up for Stoke, but Bruno Martins Indi gives the club freedom to use Geoff Cameron in other ways. … Georges-Kevin Nkoudou is another good piece for Spurs’ attacking depth ahead of the UEFA Champions League.
Islam Slimani, permanent from Lisbon to Leicester — The Algerian striker was sold on King Power Stadium by fellow Desert Warriors attacker Riyad Mahrez, and now gives the Foxes even more danger whether counterattacking or taking their talents to the opposition. With Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and Ahmed Musa joining Slimani, Leicester has the depth to dance in Europe.