Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku blocked a move for Jeremy Doku to join Chelsea when he was just 15-years-old, it has emerged, with the Belgian referencing his own time at Stamford Bridge as a warning to his compatriot.
Starting his career at Anderlecht, Lukaku quickly moved to Chelsea but found opportunities limited. He made just 14 appearances during his first stint in west London and made his name largely through loan spells at West Brom and Everton, the latter of whom he eventually signed for permanently.
He has since returned to Chelsea in a £97m, but that has gone equally poorly for him, with the Belgian now spending a second consecutive season out on loan in Serie A, this time with AS Roma.
Already unpopular with the Chelsea faithful, latest reports suggesting that he actively urged a fellow player not to join the Blues will lose him further credit among the Blues fans.
And that is just what happened with Doku, who could have joined Chelsea at 15 but instead opted to remain with Anderlecht before moving to Ligue 1, and who completed a massive £55m move to Manchester City this summer.
As revealed by Anderlecht academy director Jean Kindermans, Lukaku was key to him choosing to remain in Belgium as long as he did.
“I remember taking Romelu into my office about the problem of getting young players to commit to us – Doku in particular,” Kindermans explained to the Daily Mirror.
“Romelu replied, ‘Come on, pass your phone to me, I’m going to call him’.
“But I didn’t want to do that because a phone call gets quickly forgotten. So, instead, I got Romelu to convince Jeremy to stay.
“I still have the video on my phone. On it, you can hear Romelu giving advice to the Doku family, saying ‘Hey, guys, stay with Anderlecht for a while, you’re good’ and so on.”
While almost certainly the best step for Doku’s development, Chelsea may well have missed out on a gem as a result.