Lukaku set to join his 'dream team'
Soccer: Romelu Lukaku declared he was joining his "dream team" after Chelsea reached an agreement to sign the precocious striker from Anderlecht. The Blues' long pursuit of the 18-year-old finally bore fruit on Saturday night when they announced they were poised to complete a deal for him, subject to the player passing a medical and agreeing personal terms.
Lukaku, who is valued at between €16 million and €22 million, made no secret of the fact he was a Chelsea fan while he was being linked with Stamford Bridge. And despite last week claiming he had not ruled out a move elsewhere, the teenager made it clear this afternoon there was nowhere else he would rather be.
While taking time out to respond to questions on Twitter, Lukaku was asked what his favourite thing about Chelsea was.
He replied: "The fans The players.. Its just my dreamteam."
Lukaku, who is already a full Belgium international, faces a real fight to break into the Blues first team any time soon. He warned earlier this week he would not want to be sent out on loan if he moved to Stamford Bridge, which suggests he would be prepared to fight for his place.
The forward believes he can only benefit from training and playing alongside the likes of Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba, to whom Lukaku has long been compared.
He wrote on Sunday: "I think I am entering a team full of experienced guys and winners. And i'm very happy about that."
Lukaku is also aware he will arrive at a team under pressure to deliver silverware this season after finishing empty-handed last term.
Describing the Barclays Premier League as the "best league in the world", he added: "We have to improve ourselves year after year."
Should new manager Andre Villas-Boas decide not to loan Lukaku out, it would arguably leave Chelsea with an excess of forwards.
That would doubtless increase speculation over the futures of the likes of Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda, whose Blues careers appeared in some doubt prior to Villas-Boas' arrival.
It is understood Drogba, who finished last season strongly, is being offered a new contract to replace the one which expires next summer. There have been no such noises about Anelka, whose deal also has a year left to run, while Kalou is perennially linked with moves away from the club due to his fringe status.
The Ivorian's chances could become even more limited this term thanks to the form of Daniel Sturridge, who has done everything possible in pre-season to cement a starting spot.
The England Under-21 international struck twice yesterday as Chelsea came from behind to win their final pre-season friendly at Rangers 3-1.
Villas-Boas said: "It was a good test again. You saw the logic that we applied in the game, to give minutes to everybody which we did. So you saw we balanced the time sheet in terms of pre-season for everybody and for all the changes that we made we are happy."
Villas-Boas would not be drawn on whether Chelsea had made or would make a third bid for Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric, who would add more subtlety to the Blues midfield.
Asked whether his side needed more imagination, he added: "The imagination comes out when you exploit the talent that you have and that is what we try to do.
"We try to get the most out of people and, without repeating myself, I think these people are enjoying the freedom they are given to exploit new things that they thought that they didn't have before. We will let them express themselves."
The Portuguese was also coy about whether he had decided upon his strike force for Saturday's Premier League opener at Stoke, with many of his players on international duty this week.
"It is going to be a very important week still to make decisions," he said. "Fernando goes away, Didier goes away, Anelka and Sturridge are staying, Malouda is going with the national team. A couple of forwards will be in action, some won't, so let's see what happens."