• Chelsea forward wants club where he can ‘win titles’
• Striker, 21, has spent last two seasons on loan
Romelu Lukaku has admitted he has a decision to make about his future at Chelsea: the Belgium forward is determined to play regularly at a club where he can “win titles” after two seasons out on loan in the Premier League.
The former Anderlecht striker, a late substitute at the Estádio Nacional on Saturday, departed the World Cup after Belgium’s defeat to Argentina and will be granted time off. Those Chelsea players involved in the tournament will enjoy a slightly extended break, reporting back to Cobham after other team-mates. Talks will be held with Lukaku and his agent, Christophe Henrotay, over the 21-year-old’s future.
Chelsea anticipate that Lukaku and the goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will return for pre-season – their first friendly is on 16 July, before they depart for a training camp in Austria and a series of games around Europe – though there is interest in the striker from other clubs, most notably Atlético Madrid, Tottenham and Everton. Atlético held talks with the player’s representative in London towards the end of last season but would be interested only in a permanent move. Lukaku cost Chelsea an initial £8m in the summer of 2011.
“I want to go on holiday first and rest with my parents and then we will see,” Lukaku said. “I want to be somewhere where I can play my best football and hopefully win titles. It’s up to me to work hard but there are choices to make. Things like that happen in football and I’m confident I will make the right choice. I’m looking at everything but first of all I want to go on holiday and relax a little bit.”
Asked if he had spoken yet to anyone at Chelsea since handing in a transfer request last summer, a move that sealed a loan switch to Everton, Lukaku said: “No, not yet. It depends what is the best for me, where the most ambition is and where is the best place for me to develop.
“I’m 21 but I think I’m experienced enough now. I’ve played a lot of games and scored a lot of goals and now I want to win titles and become one of the best. I have a few ideas but we’ll see. I have to have discussions first and have to think about it. I want to go home and then I will decide. It will be soon.”
Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini and Lille’s Divock Origi – who is close to joining Liverpool but would most likely be loaned straight back to the French club – were non-committal about their futures.
While club allegiances are still to be determined, Belgium’s players are united in a conviction that they will benefit from only the second quarter-final appearance in the national team’s history, even if they failed to impose themselves on the occasion in Brasilia.
“There’s plenty more to come from us,” Lukaku said. “We are the youngest team in the tournament and I think we showed the world that we can play some good football. Argentina won the game because they were much more experienced than us, but we showed great potential. We have a good team and good players are coming through as well to keep the competition high in the team.
“We have an ambitious manager. We are ambitious players. We have one of the best teams we’ve ever seen in our country, so we’re a bit disappointed to go out, but we have to keep on going, keep on working like we have been. Our attitude will have really impressed people. The feeling was of pride and disappointment not to have gone through into the semis but we know we can achieve a lot at the Euro in two years’ time.”