Chelsea fans arguably have more reason than most to harbour wistful feelings over the super team they could have had.
While Chelsea spent a club-record £97.5million to secure Lukaku’s return from Inter Milan over the summer, Salah and De Bruyne have long since been the leading stars for title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, returning to dazzle in the Premier League following successful stints rebuilding their careers in Italy and Germany respectively.
Some claim that Salah and De Bruyne simply weren’t ready to make their mark and properly blossom at Chelsea, with the duo aged just 23 and 21 respectively when they first departed Stamford Bridge initially on loan, while others argue that they weren’t handed enough opportunity or shown sufficient patience.
Now ex-Chelsea assistant manager and loan chief Eddie Newton has claimed it was simply a clash of personalities with former manager Jose Mourinho that was to blame for the pair not making it in west London, not any doubts over their abilities.
"For me, I think Salah and De Bruyne wasn’t about talent. It was a personality clash. I just didn’t think it was working at the time,” Newton told Goal.
"I think they were more than good enough, but it was the manager who didn’t see eye-to-eye with them, so it wasn’t going to work.”
However, while Newton insists that Salah and De Bruyne were always good enough to make it at Chelsea, he maintains that Lukaku needed to go and further develop elsewhere instead of facing the pressure of trying to emulate idol Didier Drogba.
"For Lukaku, he wasn’t ready at the time, and I don’t care what anyone says,” Newton added.
"He just wasn’t ready to be the main No9 up front and carry that platform like Didier. He was always going to be compared to Didier and it wasn’t fair to him at that time.
"It was different situations for different players."