Christophe Henrotay, who represents Romelu Lukaku has scotched rumours that the Chelsea striker will be joining neighbours Fulham on loan but he could not reveal the youngster’s exact destination.
“I can assure you that Romelu Lukaku will not go to Fulham,” he told the reputable Sport/Foot magazine. “I am in the course of finalising his move to another Premier League side. I cannot tell you which one nor can I say when the transfer will be completed but for the moment things are going well.”
“We have held discussions with a wide range of clubs. The journalists (who reported the Fulham rumours) did not even contact me to verify whether it was true or not.”
Response to criticism
Henrotay also took the opportunity to respond to criticism from experienced football journalist Mike Calvin, who at 2:25 in the video above said, “I’m sorry but Lukaku is the worst £20m player I’ve ever seen.” Calvin, who frequently appears on TalkSport and writes for the Independent on Sunday, was speaking in his capacity as a presenter on BT’s online show Life’s A Pitch, which brings together an array of British football journalists.
“That will harm Romelu’s image. Many people trust journalists but it’s all part of the game. Everyone is free to have their opinion even if it is a curt and aggressive judgment (to make). Mike Calvin just wanted people to talk about him and his programme. Who was aware of “Life’s A Pitch” beforehand? He simply understood that to say someone is a good player does not create a buzz. What causes ructions are these sensational statements!”
Henrotay has not yet had the chance to discuss the matter with Lukaku, who today was called up by Marc Wilmots for next week’s friendly against the Netherlands.
“I am sure that he will be out for revenge. He will be keen to prove to this journalist what he is really capable of. I hope that in several months Romelu will be able to rub his nose in it and prove him wrong on the pitch.”
My own view is fairly similar to that of Henrotay – we must not attach too much stock to this one statement. First of all, Romelu Lukaku did not cost £20m, €20m is a more accurate figure. Secondly, players who cost such rarefied sums remain the exception and not the rule and most such players are either proven superstars at the top level or the cream of the crop of youngsters. Romelu’s fee was inflated by the fact that he was so young and had achieved a lot for his age, as well as the fact that Anderlecht knew Chelsea’s financial muscle, were aware other clubs were interested and finally that Lukaku’s family and entourage wanted to profit as much as was possible from the transaction.
While many were carried away on a tidal wave of emotion at the time, the keener observers of Belgian football sounded a much more cautious note. It was also necessary to view the move in the light of Chelsea’s record with youngsters in the last ten years, which is far from stellar compared to Arsenal and Manchester United. It is imperative that Lukaku is loaned out, not only to a club where he will play regularly but where he can work under and learn from a top coach, a coach who does not rely on transfers and short-termism but who is genuinely capable of making players better.