Romelu Lukaku made it clear that the decision to join Manchester United over Chelsea in the summer was made with his “head and heart” after producing a match-winning performance against the champions at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Belgian appeared destined to move back to Stamford Bridge following Diego Costa’s forced exile from the team, while Alvaro Morata looked set for a move to Man United.
But out of nowhere Lukaku was suddenly on his way to United after Chelsea stalled, prompting Antonio Conte to secure the services of the Spaniard instead.
And Lukaku, when asked whether he regretted his decision not to return to Stamford Bridge, insisted that he made the right call by joining United.
“No. When I make a choice it’s with my head and my heart,” he said. “I made the right choice for me. As you can see, I’m in a good situation. I’m with a manager and players who push me every day. The challenge is there to win and it’s something that I wanted.”
“I can still improve everything about my game. I’m 24 and I think I have a lot of years ahead of me before my prime so I’m never satisfied. I always want to improve and get better and it’s a nice challenge.”
Conte described Chelsea’s title triumph last season as a “little miracle” and, sitting in the stands at Old Trafford yesterday, you could see why.
While the champions moved the ball around well to start with and caused United problems through the mazy guile of Willian and Eden Hazard, the gulf in quality – in money spent in recent years – between the two teams was there to see, especially in midfield, where the midfield pivot of N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater was overshadowed by the indomitable Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
Put simply, Lukaku had a decision to make between a club that over-performed last season and signed Tiemoue Bakayoko, and a club with lofty ambitions and his close friend Pogba pinging pin-point balls in his direction.
He said he made the decision with his head and heart, but you could argue that he didn’t really need either of those to see which path looked the brightest.