To Romelu Lukaku, being called “the new Didier Drogba” is no lazy cliche, but the highest praise.
The 18-year-old striker was unveiled by Chelsea yesterday and admitted that, until recently, he slept in a Drogba replica shirt and had a poster of him on his bedroom ceiling.
He is now training alongside his hero and mentor every day, and describes it as “the best thing that can happen for a youngster”.
Globalisation and the Premier League being what they are, it is just as easy for a boy in Antwerp to grow up a Chelsea fan as it is for a boy in London.
Lukaku was first won over to Chelsea by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's exploits, shown on Belgian television. Within years, his room was as much of a shrine to Chelsea as any in west London.
Even before Drogba moved to the Bridge he was Lukaku's hero.
“When he played for Marseille, I started idolising him,” he explained. “We had the same style of play. We had the same hair, the same movements.”
Competition for attacking places will only increase with the imminent arrival of Juan Mata from Valencia.
Mata's compatriot Oriol Romeu, who recently joined from Barcelona for £4.35m, said that Mata's arrival was “great news” and expected a swift impact from the 23-year-old winger.
“I think he will settle in really well,” Romeu said. “He's a quality player. He has the technique to make it in the Premier League.”