With six months to get his feet under the table, the January 2017 transfer window was arguably the first in which director of football, Steve Walsh, could say he was able to properly prepare for and the club wasted little time in landing his next target when Ademola Lookman was signed from Charlton Athletic.
The move for the England U20 forward, reported to be worth around £7.5m up front and ultimately £10m if add-ons were triggered, was a record fee paid for a League One player and the result of extensive scouting by Walsh and his team.
Born in Wandsworth in London, Lookman was picked up by Charlton from Waterloo FC in 2014 and, after his scoring exploits for the Addicks' academy teams earned him a promotion to the first team, he made his senior debut in November 2015.
He quickly emerged as one of the brightest prospects in the Football League in the ensuing 14 months, playing 45 times, scoring10 league goals for the South London club and being named the Championship's Apprentice of the Year in 2015-16 despite Charlton's relegation to League One.
Lookman's transfer to Goodison Park was initially thought to be in jeopardy over Charlton's desire to have the 19-year-old return to The Valley on loan for the remainder of the season and Everton's strong reluctance to it. Manager Ronald Koeman apparently saw him as a viable first-team option for the remainder of the season given that he was likely to be without Yannick Bolasie for the rest of 2017.
Koeman expressed his satisfaction at landing Lookman saying, “Ademola is a big talent and, at 19 years old, he has a big future in the game. I'm really happy that we've been able to bring him here to the Club.
“This is part of the vision we have for the Club and it's important to give to young players the opportunity so that the team continues to evolve and improve.
“We believe in the player and in the development of the player which, of course, will take time but he will have a big part to play in the future of the Club.”
Blessed with great pace, balance and agility together with a desire to take players on as well as an ability to play anywhere across the forward line, Lookman promises to be an exciting addition to the Blues' squad.
Two-footed and with an eye for goal, it is no doubt hoped that as he develops in the coming years, he can provide a reliable source of creativity and goals in a team that has relied heavily on Romelu Lukaku's impressive strike rate.
Given Lookman's age and his comparatively diminutive frame for a forward — he is 5'-8½” — his biggest challenge as he prepares for the Premier League is likely to be his physique. Observers of him suggest that he will need to build up his strength to cope with the rigours of top flight football.
He took no time at all to announce himself to Everton fans 10 days after he signed, however. Introduced as a 90th-minute substitute by Koeman in order to get a taste of the action with Everton 3-0 up against Manchester City, Lookman found himself in the right spot to collect a ricochet off Seamus Coleman and bury a crisp low shot through the legs of goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to mark his five-minute debut cameo in fantastic fashion.
|Date of birth||20 October, 1997|
|Joined||5 January, 2017|
|Joined from||Charlton Athletic|
|Signed by||Ronald Koeman|
|Transfer fee||£7.5m (rising to £10m)|
|Contract duration||4½ years|
|Contract expires||June 2021|
|Debut as sub||v Man City (H), 15 January 2017|
|Previous Clubs||Charlton Athletic|
» Wikipedia Entry
|Season||Squad No.||League Apps (sub)||League Goals||Cup Apps (sub)||Cup Goals||Total Apps (sub)||Total Goals|
|2016-17||31||3 (3)||1||0 (0)||0||3 (3)||1|
|Totals||3 (3)||1||0 (0)||0||3 (3)||1|
Note: Everton Career Stats on ToffeeWeb are updated after every game.