Several players, including Belgian international Romelu Lukaku, have been given a lifeline to save their football career.
Being a top footballer is never far from the pressure of staying in-form throughout their career. Some players are able to maintain consistency regardless of coach or tactical changes. Others, on the other hand, have ups and downs.
Most recently, Romelu Lukaku has been on the wrong side of his career. After leading Inter to the Champions League last season, he preferred to remain with the Nerazzurri on loan rather than return to Chelsea. Unfortunately, there was still a deal to be reached. Worse, he made a huge mistake by contacting Inter’s archrival, Juventus. Bianconeri would only sign him in exchange for Dusan Vlahovic, which The Blues are not interested in. Inter dropped their interest in him instantly after learning of the news.
As the transfer deadline approaches, the future of the 30-year-old forward becomes uncertain. He was demoted from the first team. The new boss, Mauricio Pocchettino is not even interested in resolving it and leaves it to the club management.
Fortunately, the former Manchester United player can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Jose Mourinho, his former manager, has offered him a lifeline to save his career by allowing him to join AS Roma on loan. Lukaku will seize the opportunity to complete the transfer before the deadline.
There have been some other similar cases. Surprisingly, Mourinho has been at the centre of several. Lukaku is not the first one he’s saved, and certainly will not be the last one.
Players who have been handed a Lifeline to Save their Career
Tammy Abraham (AS Roma 2021/2022)
The young striker was Frank Lampard’s first choice in Chelsea back in the 2019/20 season. However, he fell out of favour when Thomas Tuchel took charge plus the arrival of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Suddenly, his future in London was not clear. He eventually moved to Roma after Jose Mourinho offered him a place as the main frontman. Tammy succeeded there as he helped Giallorossi win the Conference League. The England international scored 27 goals and provided five assists in 53 games.
Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea 2014/15)
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Fabregas’s return to Barcelona did not seem to work out and he was looking for a way out to revive his career. He eventually chose Chelsea as he was given a more central role there than Camp Nou under Jose Mourinho and contributed five goals plus 25 assists. Cesc also became the key figure when The Blues clinched the Premier League title in 2015.
Lucio (Inter Milan 2009/2010)
Lucio’s career in Bayern seemed to be over when they sold him in 2009. Yet, once again Mourinho came as a saviour. The Portuguese boss took him under their wing in Inter Milan. The Brazilian centre back helped Nerazzurri thump his former club in the Champions League final 2010. He was the mainstay while winning the treble in the same season too.
Sergio Romero (Man United 2016/17)
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The Argentine goalie was merely David De Gea’s backup in 2015/16. He essentially retained the same status, but was given a more important role in the Europa League in the 2016/17 season, Mourinho’s first season. The current Boca Juniors shot stopper was instrumental in lifting the Europa League trophy as he played in 12 games, including semifinal and final with eight clean sheets. Romero also made five other appearances in the FA Cup, League Cup and Premier League.
Phillipe Coutinho (Aston Villa 2022)
The Brasilian midfielder’s future was uncertain when he was in Barcelona. He was not a part of Xavi’s plan and had no suitors. Yet, in January 2022, Coutinho’s former teammate who became Aston Villa boss, Steven Gerrard, gave him a lifeline to save his career. The Villans offered a loan spell with an option to buy. At Villa Park, his form gradually improved, and he signed a permanent deal at the end of the 2021/22 season after contributing five goals and three assists in 19 games. Unfortunately, his form dropped again once Gerrard was sacked.
Ferran Torres (Barcelona 2023/24)
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The former Man City man had, as a matter of fact, been put on a sale this summer but he insists on staying despite a disappointing form in the 2022/23 campaign. Considering his long contract, Xavi came up with the idea of using him as a number 9 or frontman instead of winger as he is usually deployed. He starts his new role in the pre-season and it seems to work well as he has netted twice, including in El Classico friendly game, even though only as a substitute. In fact, the former Valencia man bagged two more against Cadiz and Villareal as well at the beginning of the season.