Romelu Lukaku is Jose Mourinho’s Biggest Mistake


Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is under more scrutiny recently than David Cameron at a pig farm. He’s been accused of everything from sexual harassment of physio Eva Carneiro to age discrimination against Captain John Terry. It’s ironic that amongst all this chatter critics have seemingly forgotten about Mourinho’s biggest mistake: his jettisoning of forward Romelu Lukaku.

The parting between the Belgian striker and The Special one was anything but amicable. Mourinho openly questioned Lukaku’s “mentality and motivation” while saying he was only willing to stay at Chelsea if he was the unquestioned first-choice striker. As a result of the falling out, Lukaku escaped with a big transfer to Everton with a five-year contract.

As Chelsea won the title last year with front-man Diego Costa playing at a high level everyone forgot about Mourinho’s treatment of Lukaku. For his part, Lukaku didn’t exactly light the world on fire for Everton in his first permanent season there either. He only knocked in 10 goals and posted a rating below seven while Costa led Chelsea to a title in his place. Mourinho was seemingly proven right in his choice.

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We should have known better. Costa, for all of his football ability has proven to be a jerk on the pitch. This season as he hasn’t been scoring at a proficient level his warts have been more obvious.

Even more than we should have known about Costa, we should have been smart enough to know that Lukaku would bounce back from his Chelsea drama. After all, he was just 21-years old at the time of his “down” season at Everton.

This year he’s bounced back to be one of Everton’s best players and one of the Premier League’s top strikers. His current rating average is 7.37 and he’s tallied 7 goals in just 12 EPL appearances. Undoubtedly now he’s having the last laugh at Mourinho.

Much to my surprise, the international press has completely let Mourinho off the hook for this error in judgment. They’ve devoted a great deal of ink and television time to his questionable treatment of Carneiro, but have ignored his Lukaku blunder. Even Mourinho’s falling out with Juan Mata has garnered more attention. Strange, considering that at this stage in their careers Lukaku is the better player of the two.

I can only assume that Mourinho gets a pass on Lukaku because people believe it was just an error in judgement on a youth player. I’d argue that’s a gross oversimplification. Lukaku had already proven that he could be a top-level striker at the Premier League level. It wasn’t a case of Mourinho having to evaluate a player in a foreign or youth league. It was a simple evaluation and Mourinho blew it. He doesn’t deserve a free pass on the error.

Mourinho is rightly under a great deal of pressure at Stamford Bridge. He’s mishandled the media, fans and quite a few players. His botching of Romelu Lukaku is his greatest sin. Just imagine how much of an upgrade the Belgian would be at striker for Mourinho’s squad at the moment.