‘In a heartbeat’: BBC pundit suggests Chelsea player with a five-year contract could still leave this summer

Garth Crooks has cast doubt over Romelu Lukaku’s future at Chelsea by suggesting the striker might be searching for the exit door.

Crooks included Lukaku in his Team of the Week for the BBC after bagging a brace against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

Usually, when a centre-forward scores twice in a game, the headlines and back pages are covered with their name.

But unfortunately for the Belgian, several other storylines stole the limelight away from him.

For one, Wolves managed to drag themselves back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 thanks to Conor Coady’s late, late equaliser.

Watching all this drama unfold in the stadium was Todd Boehly, the soon-to-be new owner of Chelsea.

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Welcome to the Premier League, Todd.

Lukaku’s personnel win vs Wolves

With the American making mental notes of what he’s gotten himself into, and the dramatic finish to the tie, a lot of the attention moved away from Lukaku’s double.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

This is despite him netting twice in two minutes, one from the penalty spot and the other with a smart finish from outside the area.

His 13th and 14th goals of the season arguably conjured up more questions than answers.

Has it come too little, too late for the 28-year-old to salvage his already disrupted Chelsea career?

Will this late burst be enough to convince Thomas Tuchel or Boehly to keep hold of the number nine for another campaign?

On the flip side, will this late burst make the player himself want to remain a Blue beyond his contract, which expires in 2026?

For Crooks, the latter scenario may well be on Lukaku’s mind already.

The Crooks of the matter

“The reaction from his team-mates to Lukaku’s successfully converted penalty said all you need to know about his popularity in the dressing room,” wrote the former Tottenham Hotspur forward.

“But it was the way he stuck away his second goal with such confidence and composure that suggests Thomas Tuchel must be very careful with how he handles Lukaku’s future at Stamford Bridge.

“The Chelsea striker has had a difficult season at Chelsea and could return to Italy in a heartbeat.”

Reports of Lukaku’s potential departure have increased in the past month or so, with the transfer window getting closer.

Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Some have linked him with a move to his former stomping ground at the San Siro, whilst Bayern Munich and Barcelona have also been mentioned.

Is this the end of Romelu’s reign at Chelsea before it’s even begun? We could find out sooner than expected…

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.