The apparent rift between Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and on loan striker Romelu Lukaku is approaching the stage where it may prove difﬁcult for the Belgian to return to Stamford Bridge. It's difﬁcult to understand why the rumpus has occurred at this moment when the cause apparently dates back to the European Super Cup game against Bayern Munich at the beginning of the season.
After a couple of stellar performances in pre-season friendlies, Lukaku's fortunes took a dive when he missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out that cost the Blues the trophy. What happened then, is still clouded in mystery, but the upshot was that apparently the striker asked for a transfer. Chelsea were unwilling to sell the vast potential that Lukaku possessed, and a loan seemed the best solution. The deal was done, and plans to loan out Ba instead were shelved. Of course, none of this was known at the time, and it's not only been the Blues' fans that thought Mourinho had made an uncharacteristic error by keeping Ba and allowing Lukaku to go to Goodison Park.
For whatever reason, the news is now out and a clearly irritated Mourinho made his feelings on the matter abundantly clear at Friday's Press Conference. Clearly sure of his ground, he challenged the assembled journos to ask the Belgian striker why he was out on loan, rather than playing for Chelsea. The inference was obvious in that it was Lukaku's choice rather than his.
Quite what the Belgian chooses to offer in response, remains to be seen. If the leaks are broadly correct, a period of quiet introspection may be the best policy. Mourinho is slow to forgive, but a contrite approach may be the order of the day if Lukaku has aspirations to play for Chelsea again.