Romelu Lukaku has been written off more times than he will care to remember, with the powerful Belgian frontman having forged a highly successful career out of proving his doubters wrong. From disappointment at Chelsea to frustration at Manchester United, questions of his value are never far away.
He did, however, respond to an initial lack of faith at Stamford Bridge by going on to plunder 85 Premier League goals across four seasons at West Brom and Everton. After being deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, 64 goals and a Serie A title were added to his impressive CV during two years at Inter.
A return to English football in 2021 was intended to enhance his reputation, but the going has once again been tough in West London. For those betting on football markets, Chelsea are currently priced at odds of 4/6 to join the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham as top-four finishers, with free football tips recognising the strength in depth, which exists in Thomas Tuchel’s star-studded squad.
Lukaku is looking to finish the 2021-22 campaign with a flourish, though, and may yet work himself back into favour with a demanding coach and expectant fan base. Having gone over four months without finding the target in the Premier League, three efforts were recorded across back-to-back meetings with Wolves and Leeds at the start of May.
Romelu Lukaku is now Chelsea's outright top scorer this season 📈 pic.twitter.com/qBE8cPjI8j— GOAL (@goal) March 19, 2022
That contribution was enough to earn four priceless points for a team desperately hoping to grace a Champions League stage again next season.
Stick or Twist?
Lukaku has avoided hitting a new low by tallying up 15 goals for the season across all competitions, with the proven performer having never dipped lower than that mark across campaigns in which he has been a regular at Anderlecht, West Brom, Everton, Manchester United and Inter.
It is easy to say that, with a £98 million price tag hanging around his neck, more was expected of him after rejoining Chelsea in a club-record deal. Detractors will also point to the fact that he should alter his game to suit the system of any given employer, rather than expecting them to bow to his demands.
There is weight to both of those arguments, and the man himself would probably admit as much. Lukaku has demanded high standards and has shown a steely determination, given how things played out the first time around, to make a positive impression back with the Blues.
Time is still on his side after committing to a five-year contract through to 2026. Instant results may be demanded in the modern era, but there is plenty to be said for stability and continuity.
With Erling Haaland heading to Manchester City, Robert Lewandowski being linked with Barcelona and Harry Kane proving impossible to prise away from Tottenham, who would Chelsea turn to if they were to let Lukaku leave?
For all of the obvious qualities boasted by Kai Havertz, he is not a No.9. The Blues have one of the best in the business on their books when it comes to filling that role and should be wary of repeating mistakes from the past that have already left them longing for more.