Romelu Lukaku's new agent Mino Raiola has claimed that his client is a better striker than Diego Costa and could have hit the same heights as the Spanish international this season had he remained at Chelsea.
Lukaku arrived at Stamford Bridge from Anderlecht in 2011 with a reputation as one of the most exciting teenage footballers in Europe, yet was never afforded the chance to prove himself worthy of a regular starting berth.
While hugely productive loan spells with both West Brom and Everton proved that the Belgian international clearly had the ability to thrive in the Premier League, a lack of guarantees from José Mourinho with regard to first-team opportunities coupled with the arrival of Costa and the return of club legend Didier Drogba led to Lukaku moving permanently to Goodison Park in a £28m deal in July 2014.
Chelsea's decision to part ways with the 21-year-old evidently has not proved detrimental to their short-term fortunes, particularly with Costa having already notched 20 top-flight goals in his first season in English football.
Lukaku, while not nearly as prolific this year as he was during his previous stint on Merseyside, is a critical figure for Everton and manager Roberto Martinez is sure to be dismayed by Raiola's suggestions that the player would not have joined the club at all had he been involved in his professional affairs last summer.
"If we had met each other earlier, he wouldn't have played for Everton," Raiola told Sudpresse as reported by the Daily Express. "Maybe somewhere else, maybe he would still be at Chelsea."
"I want to be clear: Romelu is a better striker than Diego Costa and could have done the same as the Spaniard did this season. But the Chelsea directors had decided to buy another star than giving confidence to one of their young boys."
Raiola, who also represents the likes of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, controversial Paris Saint-Germain forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Balotelli, clearly has big plans for his new client that he hopes will involve an eventual transfer back to one of European football's most reputable clubs.
"Juventus was interested in him last summer, but I want to be clear: I don't think one of the Italian teams can pay that amount of money for one player," he added. "It's almost impossible. We have never said he would leave at the end of this season.
"We will see what happens in the summer, but the Everton directors don't have to think Rom will play there for the rest of his career. Later on, he'll play for one of world's best teams: PSG, Manchester City, Manchester United of Bayern Munich. Big names, but nothing is impossible as Rom has great potential."
While such ambitions are sure to motivate Lukaku, it remains to be seen what impact his decision to leave Christophe Henrotay and join forces with Raiola will have on his future relationship with Martinez.
Everton, who exited the Europa League in March following a comprehensive defeat to Dynamo Kiev, have struggled to achieve any sort of consistency this season and were hovering just three points above the Premier League's bottom three before recent victories over Newcastle and QPR helped to ease lingering relegation fears.