The Lukaku Conundrum

by   |   05/02/2017  108 Comments  [Jump to last]

Okay, I'll nail my colour's to the mast straight away, I'm a BIG Rom fan. In the four years he's been with us, however, I've heard him labelled by our fans as lazy, fat, not a team player, arrogant, and a few other choice phrases I can't repeat on here... What his detractor's can't argue with is his goalscoring record.

Including his majestic four he knocked in yesterday, 76 goals in 172 Premier League appearances, means he's scoring on average, every 2.26 games, and is only one of five players in the history of the Premier League to score 50 goals before the age of 23 years old. If he stays clear of injuries for the next 14 games, he'll probably surpass his best ever goals tally for Everton, and that scoring average will drop even further.

So what is it that really pisses people off with him? I understand his overall game is not perfect; with his back to goal, you rarely see the best of him; alongside the fact that 12 months ago, I concede his first touch was sometimes bloody awful. Ironically, for a guy of his size, he's not particularly aggressive either, look how Costa of Chelsea snarls and snaps at everyone, even his own team-mates, that's just not in Rom's make-up.

But I also feel, in his defence, he's been Everton's most 'natural' goalscorer since Gary Lineker. Put him one-on-one with the keeper and he rarely misses. Also, certainly for the last 12 months of Martinez's tenure, his game and that of certain other players in the team, actually went backwards!!

Despite his four-goal spree against Bournemouth, I actually felt his best game for the Blues was in the cup-tie last season against Chelsea, when he terrorised their defence for the whole game, before turning them inside out for the opening goal, it was a virtual masterclass in centre-forward play.

What then of the future? Sadly, I think this will be his last season at Goodison Park. I simply think strikers of his calibre and age are few and far between. His goalscoring record will have been noted and recorded by Europe's elite group of clubs, who will come in with a mega offer at the end of the season. I would even hazard a guess that the club (and Koeman) would not stand in his way should a massive offer come in.

The lure of the gravy train that is now Champions League football is something Everton simply cannot offer at the present time. This coupled with the fact that the player recently joined the 'superstar' stable of players managed by the obnoxious Mino Raiola, means that, in my opinion, it will lead to a parting of the ways in the summer.

I feel that the Moshiri - Koeman revolution has come too late for Rom: for a number of years, he has played in poor or average Everton teams. For a large number of games last season, he rarely received a pass for 90 minutes, and ploughed away up front, largely unaided. This was when the brunt of criticism from the terraces came his way. How many times did we take the lead in games through his goals, only to see us concede two or three more at the other end?

I would love to see us build the nucleus of the team around Lukaku, but I just don't see it happening. In the last five years, the truly outstanding players in the Premier League have all been tempted away, mostly abroad. Suarez & Bales, amongst others, have all gone. Perhaps holding onto Lukaku for four years is about right for this day and age, particularly for a club of Everton's (pre-Moshiri) stature?

I, for one, will be sorry to see him go; we'll certainly miss his goal return, but, providing the money we receive for him is spent wisely, we should be able to continue the upward trend, improving season on season under Koeman.

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