With Edinson Cavani heading to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United reluctant to allow Wayne Rooney to leave Old Trafford, Chelsea's push to strengthen their squad ahead of the new season has hit a series of obstacles in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Manchester City have thrown yet more funds into their title pursuit.

However, Blues boss Jose Mourinho is unlikely to be daunted by the task ahead or by failed efforts in the transfer market – that just isn't his style. Sure, Chelsea would benefit from another option or two in the final third but this is no time to panic, in part because two intriguing prospects returned to Stamford Bridge this summer after impressive loan spells last term.

Belgian duo Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne will both start the 2013/14 season as part of the Chelsea first team squad, with the chance to work their way into Mourinho's plans. Should either or both take another leap this year, they might just make the talk of transfer market frustration null and void.

Chelsea fans will be well aware of Lukaku's development at West Brom last season, where he notched 17 goals and proved to be a constant menace for opposition defences with his pace and power. What he lacked at times in composure and finesse, he made up for with effort and the willingness to keep making dangerous runs. If Mourinho is looking for a Didier Drogba-type presence to lead the attack, Lukaku's task is to prove that Demba Ba is not the only option.
 

Lukaku is still just 20 and has plenty of room to improve his all-round game, but he could be one of the wildcards in this season's title race and his performances on Chelsea's pre-season tour have left Mourinho with some tough decisions to make as to who his first choice striker(s) will be.

"It's up to the kid [whether he can challenge Fernando Torres and Ba] but he's open and intelligent to learn the kind of movement we want", the Portuguese explained after Sunday's 4-1 win over a Malaysian XI in which Lukaku grabbed a goal and an assist. "The role he played tonight was the right movement. We don't want the striker just aiming between the central defenders but making movements, sometimes between the midfield or moving wide.

"People compare him to Didier Drogba but we have to respect Didier, because he is unique in Chelsea's history, and we have to respect Lukaku. The best way to do that is not compare him to a legend in Chelsea's history. Leave Didier where he is, at the top of Chelsea's history, and leave Lukaku to work hard. The kid is good."

Meanwhile, De Bruyne caught the eye during a productive loan spell at Werder Bremen last season. The 22-year-old scored 10 goals from an attacking midfield role and has confirmed all the promising reports by making a strong impression on Chelsea's pre-season tour. Compatriot Hazard was full of praise for the youngster's ability after the recent 1-0 win over Singha All-Stars (courtesy of a Lukaku goal) and De Bruyne was on the scoresheet himself on Sunday, though he did limp off with an injury that has prompted concern in the Chelsea camp.

That said, De Bruyne will find playing time hard to come by in a squad that boasts Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Frank Lampard and summer signings Andre Schurrle and Marco van Ginkel, but there will be plenty of opportunities to learn from such talented team-mates. Perhaps the likeliest outcome is that he will be a useful impact substitute for Mourinho to call upon and a possible starter in cup competitions.

The Chelsea manager has already given indications that De Bruyne will have a role to play for the Blues over the course of the 2013/14 campaign. He is yet to make a Premier League appearance but will have every chance to change that statistic in the months ahead. With injuries and suspensions sure to hit every squad in the league, there will always be openings for fringe players to step in.

In the current era, where young players are so frequently bought for high prices by Europe's elite and immediately thrust into first team action, Chelsea's approach with Lukaku and De Bruyne has been refreshing. With more experience under their belts, both should be important pieces for Mourinho as he attempts to bring the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge at the first attempt.

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