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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Peter Anthony
2 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:48:56
50-1 – current odds for top 4. Seems generous to me, as a "glass half-full" Toffee. However, assuming we don't qualify for Champions League this season, I don't think it is a forgone conclusion he will be off.

If we are continuing to improve, and prove, with our form until the end of the season, plus summer additions, that next season looks a good bet to really be amongst it next year, he may well sign an extension and stay.

Moshiri's financial backing surely could mean his financial deal is agreeable to both him and his 'super agent' Raiola. Raiola would surely 'earn' a handsome fee for negotiating Rom's new deal.

If Raiola has Rom's best footballing as well as financial interests at heart, if Koeman's Everton are proving likely to match the ambitions of Rom in the immediate future, it is a no-brainer to stay at least another season as we enter the promised land and start winning things again.

He can be a legend in the new Everton, winning things, dominating Merseyside again and plundering goals and glory on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey at the new Dockside Stadium. COYB. Dreams do come true sometimes... Blue Heaven, here we come, please lord!

Lee Courtliff
3 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:51:30
I've said for a while that in 3/4 years he'll be the Number 1 striker on the planet!

What he's achieved at such a young age whilst playing for mid-table teams is truly remarkable!

Imagine how many he'd score in a top team?

He's the best striker I've seen in my near 27 years of following Everton. I know full well he'll be off soon and I've made my peace with that...I'm just glad I got to see him play for my team!

I don't care about his attitude, I don't kid myself that players 'love the club'...it's just a job to them. And I'd much prefer an arrogant twat who scores 20 odd than a hard worker who chases lost causes into the corner flag but only weighs in with 10 goals a season!

Saying that... I did actually like Andy Johnson!!

Liam Reilly
4 Posted 05/02/2017 at 23:05:03
I can see Arsenal or Chelsea coming in with a mega bucks offer in the summer and sadly I reckon he's gone.

The revolution has come too late and in fairness the new ground could still be 3 or 4 years away and he's going to be in his prime then and should be playing Champions League regularly so he'll not wait that long.

I hope I'm wrong, but I'll wish him the best of luck should he go. 4 years is good service.

Drew O'Neall
5 Posted 05/02/2017 at 23:51:03
If Costa leaves Chelsea and they come in, he'll go.

Man City too may need a replacement for Aguerro but could yet be without Champion's League.

Man Utd will need to replace Ibrahimovic at some point but probably not this year and also look likely to be outside the top four.

Tottenham have Kane and probably don't need him.

Liverpool can't afford him.

Arsenal won't stump up the cash in a bidding war but would be the other realistic destination in terms of him improving their side but, based on what I saw of them this weekend, they may also fall out of contention for a Champions League spot.

Perhaps the best we can hope, while the rebuilding continues, is for Costa signing a new contract and Spurs, Liverpool and Man Utd taking the other top 4 spots.

Cue massive signing-on fee, the awarding of a >£150k/week contract and the insertion of an £50m release clause – who'd be a player/agent?

Brian Williams
6 Posted 06/02/2017 at 00:19:46
There's a rumour that he signed his contract extension in December and the release clause is £80m.

I find it hard to believe myself as the club would surely have announced the contract extension part!

Daniel A Johnson
7 Posted 06/02/2017 at 00:56:07
Every time Lukaku bags a hatful, the usual people start mouthing off – usually his agent, followed by his dad, then big Rom himself. Then he goes missing for 10 matches and it all goes quiet again.

Only one thing is certain: if he goes, it won't be for under £75M.

Keep in mind this latest hatful was against Eddie Howe's Bournemouth who are about as wide open as a porn star's legs.

Kase Chow
8 Posted 06/02/2017 at 00:58:08
Fantastic goalscorer

People knock him but it's mainly because his ambitions exceed those of the club.

Peter Gorman
9 Posted 06/02/2017 at 02:52:17
On a separate note, what a lovely lad Lookman is too. His answer to everything is still, "pinch me, I'm dreaming" – such a grounded, humble kid who I hope never underestimates his own ability.

In his last interview he even claims he was at fault for the 2nd goal and apologises. I didn't see it that way but what a nice guy to cop to it.

Peter Barry
10 Posted 06/02/2017 at 04:05:45
Lukaku plays for Lukaku and he will go where the money, and his unscrupulous agent, takes him.
Eugene Ruane
11 Posted 06/02/2017 at 04:19:08
Peter # 9 - Let's hope Lookman becomes our Tom Brady.

Who he?

Quarter-master and star player with the American football team the Mississippi Oven Chips, who just won the American FA Cup.

I woke up (3.15am) had a Johnny Cash, put the telly on and there's a feller screaming...

"WOW! JUST WOW!! WHAT A GAME WE HAVE NOW AT THE McNUGGET SKYDOME. THE MISSISSIPPI OVEN CHIPS ARE ON A 7TH DOWN WITH AN 8TH PUNT ON THE TIME-OUT, WHILE THE TEXAS OIL MONKEYS HAVE 12 INTERCEPTS ON THE 15TH DOWN WITH A DEE-FENCE..."

(ok I may have some of those details wrong, but basically it was 28-28 and going into extra time).

The calm and (seemingly) humble Brady led his men to a win after they were 25 points down going into the 5th quarter.

He also became the first ever gridlock player to have 5 rings.

Or something.!

Way to go Lookman!!


Eric Myles
12 Posted 06/02/2017 at 04:25:38
"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?"

Once... at home to West Ham.

Eric Myles
13 Posted 06/02/2017 at 04:27:03
And that was when we were down to 10 men.
David Chait
14 Posted 06/02/2017 at 05:00:43
This article is all about our self-image and fears. On the flip side, it was obvious (to those with their heads on straight) that Lukaku will become one of the best. So teams might just have missed their opportunity to take him at a reasonable price.

Now we have cash AND don't have to find a world class striker... we have him. We can afford to pay him a salary to compete with most. We shouldn't fear Lukaku; going we should be excited who we can buy to join him and become a top team again.

I say that with more bravado than I feel, to be honest... but maybe we should change the dialogue. If we don't believe... why should the players?

James Flynn
15 Posted 06/02/2017 at 05:25:53
Eugene (11) - That was funny. Good stuff.
John Keating
16 Posted 06/02/2017 at 06:40:58
Most players want to win things. Yes, there are many who are happy just to get the big bucks but I believe in the main, most want to be winning cups and medals.

If we hadn't made such an arse of both cups this season and somehow managed to win one then I think Lukaku would have stayed.

Yet again we will finish best of the rest and I feel if one of the big European teams come in for him or Chelsea or Man City here at home then he will go.

Our job is to get the absolute maximum for him. God only knows who we can attract that will give us the goal ratio he does. We can only hope the rest of the team finally pitch in with the goals as well.

A very sad day for us when he leaves.

Chris Leyland
17 Posted 06/02/2017 at 07:10:04
John – I think you are being over-optimistic about the cups there. I honestly can't envisage a scenario where by if we had won the EFL Cup and Real Madrid come knocking, Rom turning round and say "I'm flattered by Madrid's interest but after our EFL Cup win, there is no way I'm leaving Goodison."
Bob McEvoy
18 Posted 06/02/2017 at 10:50:42
Steve, according to the Everton Results website he's scored 78 goals in 141 starts and 11 sub appearances which includes 59 goals in the Premier League. Makes him slightly better than 1 in 2.
Steve Hogan
19 Posted 06/02/2017 at 11:00:02
Hi Bob (17)

I think I got my stats from the Premier League's own website, happy to be corrected if I'm wrong?

Dave Abrahams
20 Posted 06/02/2017 at 12:36:53
David. (14) I'm glad you finished with your last paragraph.
Les Green
21 Posted 06/02/2017 at 12:36:56
Rom is on his 76th goal. I may have got this wrong because it sounds... paltry, but in comparison Peter Crouch has just celebrated his 100th career goal and it took him years to do it. He was described over the weekend as "prolific" by one pundit.
Bob McEvoy
22 Posted 06/02/2017 at 12:48:24
Steve, I'm quoting his Everton record.
Ste Traverse
23 Posted 06/02/2017 at 13:31:09
One thing is certain: we are going to miss him when he goes because we are unlikely to attract someone better.

He's deadly in front of goal but I had to laugh when not so long ago we had a few posters on here saying they'd rather have Charlie Austin, Shane Long, even Big Vic, over him.

Without question, the best goalscorer at this club since Lineker.

Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 06/02/2017 at 15:15:40
Ste (23), we didn't miss Lineker when he went, just played differently... could do the same again!!!
Phil Bellis
25 Posted 06/02/2017 at 15:48:09
I hope if or when he goes we don't further strengthen the Sky teams and try our best to sell him abroad.

Get him to adopt Ademola, bring in Rom's younger brother, bring back Deulofeu – whatever it takes to keep him happy

Eddie Dunn
26 Posted 06/02/2017 at 16:06:46
I like Lukaku and his form is good at the moment. However, if I may remind everyone that Bournemouth are very poor defensively.

He didn't look much cop at Stoke when his hold-up play was poor and Peter Crouch was giving a masterclass of forward play at the other end. Before anyone asks me if I'd rather have Crouchy – no I wouldn't! Let's just hope it is a case of the team learning how to get the best out of him.

He will be marked a bit tighter after this weekend, so let's see how he does.

Paul Ellam
27 Posted 06/02/2017 at 17:46:22
There is no conundrum for me. He is a fantastic goal scorer and must be kept at all costs!

It's been far too long since we had an out and out scorer - maybe back to the days of Cottee (Yakubu had 1 great season).

With Lukaku we CAN get into the top four and maybe win a trophy but we must show him we match his ambitions or he will be off.

Dean Adams
28 Posted 06/02/2017 at 17:55:09
Problem solved: the Yak, who is back and now only 34, is available.
Steavey Buckley
29 Posted 06/02/2017 at 18:17:40
Lukaku will always be remembered for the goals he scores for Everton. His first goal for Everton against West Ham on the 23Z September 2013 when he headed the winner at great risk to himself when caught while making his Everton debut as a second half substitute in the 46th minute for Jelavic.

It is in the same tradition of all great Everton centre-forwards from Dixie Dean, to Tommy Lawton, Dave Hickson, Alex Young, Joe Royle, Bob Latchford, Andy Gray to Graham Sharpe and Duncan Ferguson. Let us rejoice while Lukaku remains an Everton player, when he is a part of Everton's history and a part of Everton's future for now.

Ray Atherton
30 Posted 06/02/2017 at 18:53:43
I would imagine that Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd will be interested in signing Rom. Would Mourinho try to get him, as he let him go at Chelsea?.

Today is the Anniversary of the Munich air crash, 59 years ago... great team.

We played them at Goodison five months before the crash. I saw the Busby Babes in a 3-3 draw.

Paul Mackie
32 Posted 06/02/2017 at 19:26:58
I said it in another thread but I'll say it again here – we should do whatever it takes to keep him at Everton. I can't think of many (or any if I'm being honest) cases where clubs have sold their leading goal scorer and become a better team afterwards.

The only reason I can see not to offer him a bumper pay deal is if it means that we can't spend as much on quality players due to FFP restraints.

Mike Gaynes
33 Posted 06/02/2017 at 20:40:32
Oh, Eddie (#26)... nobody, and I mean NOBODY, in the wide wide world of footy gives a single solitary rip about Rom's hold up play (except a few Blues). Whoever is going to pay £80M for him this summer isn't going to be buying his hold up play anymore than they're going to be buying his tackling or his goalkeeping or his stylish autographs for the kiddies.

All that matters to them is what SHOULD be all that matters to the Everton fan base... how many goals he scores. Everything else is irrelevant. Actually having used him for hold-up play is a manifestation of managerial idiocy, and I include both past and current managers in that assessment.

And I would presume that your post is the very first time in the history of the English language that the words "Peter Crouch" and "masterclass" have been used in the same sentence.

Philip Yensen
34 Posted 06/02/2017 at 21:26:48
My thinking on the Lukaku situation is this. He is not a gifted ball controller. He is not the best in the air. His work rate doesn't seem to be top notch either. Now we know when we get the ball forward to him, he needs support and at the moment he's getting it. If we lump the ball up, he is cannon fodder for the two centre-halves marking him.

Now when we play the ball in channels for him, shit off a shovel he is good, very good. Use him as we did for Lineaker and Latchford and he is a world beater.

Of course there will be links regarding him leaving, simply put a big price on his head and be prepared unless we are going with the big boys and spending big ourselves. Let's enjoy and use this man properly; it's good for us, him and the price we get for him IF he does leave. Don't blame the lad.

John Keating
35 Posted 06/02/2017 at 22:36:45
Mike 33
Spot on and very well put sir
James Flynn
36 Posted 06/02/2017 at 23:51:12
There is no conundrum.

If we're in a new era of aggressive ownership, Lukaku is top of the list to lock-in on whatever contract it takes.

Eugene Ruane
37 Posted 07/02/2017 at 00:30:13
A 'stat' I just read, which may or may not be relevant re interest from other sides (Man City, Chelsea, Real Mardrid etc).

It was in a piece with 'Flat Track Bully' in the title (don't shoot the messenger)...

Anyway it said:

A staggering statistic shows Lukaku's woeful strike rate in matches against the 'big six'. Versus Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham over the past three seasons, Lukaku has played 30 matches – and scored just three goals.

Not making any point, was just looking at that NewsNow thingy and saw it.

Dave Abrahams
38 Posted 07/02/2017 at 00:34:18
Paul (32), Everton sold Gary Lineker in 1986, leading goal scorer that season, with a lot more than Lukaku has scored in a season, and we won the Championship the next season.

For those who say we must keep him, a fine sentiment, you cannot keep a player who doesn't want to be here. Lukaku will go to the club who pays Everton near enough to what they want for him.

Lukaku will stay longer with the Blues if he signs the contract that his agent said he was 99 per cent near to signing just before Christmas; he still hasn't signed it.

When he signs this contract, supporters will have some hope he will stay a bit longer... Don't bet on it.

Dave Abrahams
39 Posted 07/02/2017 at 00:47:23
Eugene (37), he has scored more than three against those teams.

Just off the top of my head, he has scored three against Liverpool, one against Man City, one versus Arsenal, that's in the league plus two against Chelsea in the cup... I think there may be more.

He has scored 16 Premier League goals this season and nearly half of them in two games against Sunderland and Bournemouth.

Eddie Dunn
40 Posted 07/02/2017 at 01:00:53
Mike (#33), very funny! But honestly... Crouch did give a masterclass in that first half, and there really is a lot to be said for holding the ball up.

In many games where we have been hoofing it forward in an attempt to release pressure, our Big Lad up top has failed to do just that, allowing the pressure to be piled back on. It ain't all about banging 'em in.

I will also add that I have backed Rom in many arguments on here for a couple of years, so am by no means a Rom-hater. Nowt wrong with constructive criticism – it improves you!

Mike Gaynes
41 Posted 07/02/2017 at 01:01:33
Dave (#39), your recollection matches mine. I've previously seen the statistic Eugene found and it didn't square up with me either.

Hell, the one against Chelsea in the Cup last March was worth five or six by itself. I can still see Cahill screwing himself into the ground like an anchor bolt.

Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 07/02/2017 at 01:04:19
Ray (#31), a Wednesday night game, Derek Temple scored two in that game, did Wally Fielding get the other one?

The Busby Babes, what a tragedy, a team that neutral supporters could watch and admire.

Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 07/02/2017 at 01:14:02
Eddie (#40) well said, Crouch is very under-rated as a footballer in my opinion, especially his ball control.

Mike (#41) a goal is always only worth one, no matter if you go past six men and score by nutmegging the keeper, or if you don't even touch the ball... like Lukaku versus Middlesboro this season.

Mike Gaynes
44 Posted 07/02/2017 at 01:31:30
Eddie (#40)... "it ain't all about banging 'em in."

You are absolutely right, mate.

It's also about belting them in, bouncing them in, curving them in, heading them in, sliding them in, chipping them in and bumping them in with your arse.

And then it's about wheeling away in celebration afterwards.

Other than that... well, look at it this way. In all of the millions of words that have been written over the years about Romario, Gerd Muller, Shearer, Puskas, Eusebio etc and now about Cristiano, Messi, Ibra and The Rat etc... have you ever once seen a single mention of their hold-up play? When Mourinho got Ibrahimovic last summer, did he even once bring up how well he keeps the ball under pressure and distributes? Do you think the Brazilians sit around telling stories of how Ronaldo used to hold off defenders and drop the ball to his supporting runners? Or Pele's ball pressure and work rate?

Goals. Where a striker is concerned, that is ALL that it's all about.

Jay Wood
45 Posted 07/02/2017 at 01:35:33
Read the story Eugene refers to about Romelu being a 'flat-track bully.' Didn't square with my memory either. He's got 2 goals (home and away) to City alone this season. And I certainly recalled his pair against Liverpool in the 3-3 draw at Goodison.

Quick check confirmed the author of the article is talking out of his arse. In his time with us, Lukaku has scored 5 v Man City, 3 v Liverpool, 2 v Chelsea (last season's FA Cup) and 2 v Arsenal (1 PL, 1 FA Cup). 12 in total.

How wrong can a journo and his article be...?

Ernie Baywood
46 Posted 07/02/2017 at 02:09:44
Really when we debate Lukaku it's on the baits of whether he's very good or great. Or whether he's 'just' a goalscorer or a compete forward.

Considering where we are right now, his worth to us shouldn't really be questioned.

In terms of his future, if he's got 2½ years left on his contract then the formula is pretty straight forward for me. We're either a top side next season or we sell him in the summer of 2018 before his value drops in the last year of his deal.

With the best will in the world I think it will come too soon and he'll be gone at the end of next season. Shame, but Everton is long term, footballers aren't – just enjoy them while they're with the club.

Jay Wood
47 Posted 07/02/2017 at 02:19:03
The Lukaku debate has been done to death on these pages.

No desire to dredge through them all over again.

For me it comes down to one simple question:

Is Romelu Lukaku a liability or an asset to Everton FC?

I know where my vote goes.

How about you?

Kristian Boyce
48 Posted 07/02/2017 at 02:31:35
Other than the Chinese (which would've career suicide), there's only about 8-10 teams that realistically could afford him. Unfortunately, I think he'll go this summer as he's going to get caught up in a big striker transfer circus.

With Man Uts sounding like they've already tied up Griezman, I wouldn't be surprised if Atletico replace him with Costa. Which leaves Chelsea in need of a replacement. With all the rumours of him returning there in the past, I can see it coming to fruition this time. But saying that, it puts us in a great bargaining position and can recoup a huge amount for him.

Richard Murray
49 Posted 07/02/2017 at 03:11:23
Amazingly that "3 in 30" stat was what Shearer said on MotD on Saturday and – he continued – that for Rom to be a 'top, top' striker he would need to improve on it.

I couldn't believe how wrong it sounded and (upgrading from amazingly) incredibly the Echo reported on it the next day and didn't even challenge the stat. Appalling journalism from a local paper. Embarrassing. And thanks for the research Jay (45).

Hmm. Have your own opinion about Rom but the quality of the opposition ain't an issue with him.

Dave Abrahams
50 Posted 07/02/2017 at 10:06:28
Jay (#47), sometimes he is a very good asset; sometimes he is a handicap to Everton... depends on Lukaku's mood.
Jay Wood
51 Posted 07/02/2017 at 12:13:50
A handicap Dave...? How so?

I repeat the question, adding one word (although there really is no need):

OVERALL - Is Romelu Lukaku a liability or an asset to Everton FC?

Dave Abrahams
52 Posted 07/02/2017 at 12:26:41
Jay (#51) when he doesn't put the effort in, happens many times.

Overall? Same answer.

Graham Mockford
53 Posted 07/02/2017 at 12:55:11
Jay (#45),

It's a selective use of statistics but it is in fact correct. It only includes Premier League games and the start point is season 14-15, excluding his first season with us.

A fairer comparison might be career games which is 17 goals in 55 games. This is still well below his normal scoring rate. To some extent, you would expect this, as all teams score less goals against the top teams, but maybe not to that degree.

His ratio against top teams is an area he needs to improve.

Jay Wood
54 Posted 07/02/2017 at 13:10:55
The many times he doesn't put the effort in Dave?

From this season alone, care to list and name those games?

Like all players, he has 'off' days. He takes 'breathers' in games.

Equally, he is not solely responsible for how well or poorly Everton plays as a team.

Of the last 90-odd goals Everton has scored, Lukaku has scored or assisted more than half of them.

Some liability and 'handicap' that Dave.

I wouldn't mind 1-2 similarly 'limited' players added to the squad to further 'handicap' us.

Martin Nicholls
55 Posted 07/02/2017 at 13:43:50
Some have referred to appalling journalism (by both BBC and the red Echo) in relation to Rom, and others to Crouch's qualities.

I agree that Crouch is probably better than he's generally given credit for but the man is dangerous in the air purely due to his stature and not because of any innate heading ability. In fact his heading is distinctly average and whilst within his own limitations he played ok against us last week, a "masterclass" it most certainly wasn't.

By contrast, what Rom gave on Saturday was a masterclass. As to lazy and inaccurate journalism by the BBC, Lawrenson gave a masterclass in that on Football Focus when, in lauding Crouch's "achievement" in reaching 100 goals, he claimed that Crouch has been "prolific" at every club he's played for.

I believe it has taken Crouch over 400 games to "amass" his 100 goals, scoring an average of 7 goals a season! If that's prolific, then how can Rom's record be described?

Eddie Dunn
56 Posted 07/02/2017 at 14:03:49
Mike Gaynes (#44). The striker's role is far more complicated than the rather simplistic description that you give.

For instance, the striker makes a run along the centre circle to receive the lofted ball out of defence (the team under pressure), he gets the ball under control off his chest and sweeps it sideways into the path of the winger. The striker's good spacial awareness enabled him to put the correctly weighted pass to his teammate in such a way that the winger did not have to break his stride.

The striker then turned and sprinted towards the penalty spot arching his run so as to not get caught offside. The cross comes in, and the striker heads it down into the ground and beats the goalie into the corner of the net.

It isn't just about banging them in. He needs to be able to take a ball out of the air and get it under control. He needs to see his teammates. He needs to be able to play a weighted pass. He needs to time his run.

Lukaku is caught offside far too often. He often fails to control a through ball or head it to nobody. Things he can improve on, and all things essential for the big strong centre-forward.

Colin Glassar
57 Posted 07/02/2017 at 14:13:59
For a team that's 8th in the 'chances created' league, Rom being top scorer (so far) is nothing short of miraculous.
John Daley
58 Posted 07/02/2017 at 14:26:53
Lukaku may not be 'solely responsible' for how Everton perform, but when played up top on his own, with the sole tactic reduced to searching him out with long balls and trying to get runners around him, then how effectively he battles for it, holds it, controls it and combines with others certainly has a big bearing on whether his team gains a foothold in the game.

I don't go along with the accusations of outright laziness, but there have certainly been times when frustration at being isolated or living off scraps has seen his shoulders visibly slump and what should be a sprint become a half-hearted stroll.

It has certainly happened at times this season, as it has in his previous terms at the club, but the instances have been greatly reduced. He has improved in that regard, as he has improved in other areas. For me, the derby game was demonstrative of this as, though he got little support and didn't get a sniff of goal, he ran, chased, jumped and jostled from first whistle until last despite getting no joy. That's not always been the case.

Let's not forget either that, barring injury, he starts and finishes nearly every game throughout a season. Playing 90 mins as a lone front man, week after week, without the luxury of 'rest' or 'rotation' offered to forwards of other clubs blessed with more than what amounts to a wind-up Dusty Bin as 'back-up', he's not going to be constantly firing on all cylinders under those circumstances.

Bournemouth, by pushing so many men forward and leaving him space to run at them, played straight into Lukaku's hands on Saturday. Most defenders struggle to manage him when he has support, is on the move, facing forward, and bombing toward them. When he's the only body in the opposition half, back to goal, with a couple of defenders up his arse, stood waiting for the ball to drop from the sky so he can do the Herman Munster sneaking to bed on his tip toes bit, then it's a totally different and much less troubling proposition.

With recent improvements in midfield dynamism, players pushing on in support, and a long overdue injection of confidence into the entire side, then hopefully the 'twat it to Rom on the off-chance it sticks' tactic will no longer be our default mode of transitioning from defence to attack.

Graham Mockford
59 Posted 07/02/2017 at 14:52:22
Eddie (#56),


"He needs to see his teammates. He needs to be able to play a weighted pass. He needs to time his run."

You are describing his goals 1, 3 and 4 from Saturday.

Jay Wood
60 Posted 07/02/2017 at 14:57:01
Graham @ 53.

Seriously, help me here Graham.

I'm guessing the journalist who made the claim in his article did so on the back of what appears to be something Alan Shearer said on MotD.

Now as I don't have access to MotD, I have no idea if Shearer qualified his statement and said he excluded Lukaku's 1st season with us, plus any cup goals he has scored against the 'top 6.'

I don't know if Shearer researched those numbers himself, or if he was provided with them and took them at face value.

Either way, why would he (or his anonymous researcher) distort the true numbers in such a way?

Similarly, why should the reporter in the referenced article not check the veracity of Shearer's claim? And why, if as reported in this thread, did the Echo repeat Shearer's claims without challenge? Any half decent journalist would check and double check his facts before going to print.

Furthermore, shouldn't the local rag correct such a misrepresentation of the truth and defend a local player?

I don't disagree with you that Lukaku needs to improve his goal return against the top teams. For example, he has yet to score against either Man Utd or Spurs. (But then, he has scored against more than 20 different Premier League teams in his time in England). But as you also rightly say, it is more difficult for ALL players to score against the top teams. Consider this:

Aguero has yet to score this season against the 'top 6.'

Diego Costa has scored 3 this season against the 'top 6.'

Last season, Eden Hazard scored only 2 Premier League goals against the 'top 6.'

Conclusion? Romelu is around par with his peers against the same opposition, playing for, arguably, a weaker team.

He's doing just fine...

Chris Leyland
61 Posted 07/02/2017 at 15:03:22
Lukaku did score a hat-trick against Man Utd as a West Brom player.
Jay Wood
62 Posted 07/02/2017 at 15:20:56
Indeed he did, Chris! His final game for the Baggies in the memorable last game of the season – 5-5 draw with United!

I didn't even look at his stats outside of playing for Everton. Just checked now and in his 2012-13 season at WBA he scored 17 goals for them.

Against 'top 6' sides, he scored the aforementioned hat-trick against Man Utd and he scored 2 more, home and away against the Liverpool. Another 5 Premier League goals to add to the stats.

Shearer and the journos who parroted him are looking increasingly silly.

Jay Harris
63 Posted 07/02/2017 at 15:56:29
Parking the argument about Rom's contribution or lack of it in certain games, the real question is: Will he stay or go?

I see this morning he stated that another Premier League club was in for him but when he spoke to Koeman he was persuaded to stay for now. (Probably assisted by a lump sum to his agent from Moshiri.)

He said is aim is to win the Premier League and Champions League.

It is obvious to all of us that his heart is not with Everton and his only interest is himself and not the team or the club. His five-a-side team pick was all Chelsea and not one Everton player. I bet the dressing room will love that.

His goals are valuable but, like Lineker and others, no-one is irreplaceable. In my opinion, a punt for Vardy and Mahrez in the Summer would be the thing to do.

I think we should be planning for an exit in the summer.

Graham Mockford
64 Posted 07/02/2017 at 16:00:08
Jay

With any 'statistics' they can often be selected to fit the narrative. 3 PL goals in the last three seasons against the Top 6 teams is factually correct. (1 last season vs RS, 2 this season vs Man City)

The same as your statistic regarding Aguero and Costa for this season is also factually correct. (I assume!)

Despite them both being true, it is possible to reach a different conclusion on the same matter.

As I said, looking at all games across the widest possible timescale probably gives you the best indication. This would be less likely to support the 'flat-track bully' label but to my mind still represents less than we would want.

Not sure what Shearer's motivation was for repeating the stat but I guess, if you are being paid to say stuff, you will say stuff.

Steve Brown
65 Posted 07/02/2017 at 16:13:55
Brilliant player, absolute goal machine, only 23 and we'll only understand his value when he goes.

Also a bighead and massive ego matched by an enormous desire to become a great striker. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

Stan Schofield
66 Posted 07/02/2017 at 16:20:39
There is no Lukaku conundrum. If the 'project' means anything, then Everton will keep Lukaku beyond his current contract.

A salary and conditions sufficiently attractive to retain him, and continued improvement in our performances, are essential. If we lose world class players like him, we don't really have a 'new era', just continuing mediocrity.

Ray Atherton
67 Posted 07/02/2017 at 16:32:29
Dave, (42)

It was Jimmy Harris.

Mike Gaynes
68 Posted 07/02/2017 at 16:34:05
Jay Harris (#63), no thank you. Buying Vardy and Mahrez wouldn't just be a punt, it would be a prayer that they'd return to their transcendent – and previously unapproached – performance levels of last season, and I don't see it happening. Mahrez couldn't even break into our side right now, and Vardy has returned to earth with a thud.

Eddie (#56), of course there are many elements that go into making a great striker. My point was that hold up play is not one of them. In fact, you omitted one crucial talent that Rom lacks – anticipation. He almost never scores "poacher's goals" by reacting first to the unexpected, a la Costa, Aguero and Giroud. If Rom had just a little van Nistelrooy in him, he'd be the best striker in the world. As is, he's pretty damned good.

Graham (#59), amen and thanks for the chuckle.

Dermot Byrne
69 Posted 07/02/2017 at 16:34:10
If he wants to go and someone pays the right amount, he goes. Otherwise he stays. I bet he couldn't predict which it will be at this moment so god knows why we are trying. Asset or liability? I'd say 5:1 ratio...
Eddie Dunn
70 Posted 07/02/2017 at 17:39:59
Graham (#59). I was describing the different elements that a centre forward needed, in response to Mike Gaynes reeling off a list of famous goal scorers as he insisted that putting it in the net was all that they were remembered for.

I have been one of Lukaku's biggest defenders over his time with us, but although he did do these things well for his goals against Bournemouth, there have been games where the ball has pinged off his head, shins and torso to nobody.

He also gets caught offside because he has a habit of ambling back from the 6 yard box, when the attack is still on. So he isn't perfect, but his finishing is fantastic.

Graham Mockford
71 Posted 07/02/2017 at 18:16:40
Eddie

I agree that the greatest area of improvement is being able to consistently hold the ball up, however I agree with John Daley's view. Having Ashley Williams constantly ping 50-yard balls at him whilst surrounded by defenders is not the best approach.

Quite interesting to see how he compares with other forwards in the offside stakes. Seems he's sort of mid-table and not as bad as Costa, Sanchez and Zlatan:

Link

Graham Mockford
72 Posted 07/02/2017 at 18:21:33
Mike (#68),

I also agree about his anticipation. I suspect it is more about his physique than his instincts.

He is a big unit who is not quick off the mark. I don't think many Premier League strikers would beat him over 100 m but I suspect most would beat him over 10 m.

Mike Gaynes
73 Posted 07/02/2017 at 19:20:54
Graham (#72),

I'll debate that one. He's actually very quick off the mark for a big guy, quicker than Ibra or Carroll or Giroux. The poacher's anticipation is instinctual, not physical... they just smell something coming and get there because they moved first, before it happened.

Watch Costa and he's constantly in motion towards places where the ball might fall... while Rom will be static in the same situation. Ruud wasn't quick, but his precognition was damn near supernatural.

It's one of the few gifts Rom doesn't have.

Dave Abrahams
74 Posted 07/02/2017 at 19:27:13
Ray (67) thanks for that.
Eddie Dunn
75 Posted 07/02/2017 at 19:46:49
Graham. Watched the slideshow, interesting, I thought the count would be higher as some guys get caught a few times a game.

I suppose if you are on the attack more, you may get caught out more often.

Dave Abrahams
76 Posted 07/02/2017 at 19:49:49
Jay (#54),

You are conducting how good or or how bad Lukaku is like a murder case... is he guilty or not guilty.

Lukaku has scored 16 goals this season, 7 in two games, that leaves 9 in 18 to 20 games, a decent return but not outstanding.

So I'd say he hasn't put the effort in for around eight or nine games. He scored two against Watford, he was very poor in that game, enough for some like yourself to say he couldn't be all that bad if he scored two.

Sufficient to say he can do a lot more in games that he scores in and also when he doesn't score. I praise him and give him credit when he plays well; I don't come on here when he has played poorly and say he has had a stinker, and neither do many of his fans.

Quite a few say nothing during his dry spells but come on after games like Saturday and try to tell other fans how great he is. Well good luck to them with that, it doesn't bother me that they think he is that good and, as an Evertonian, I enjoy Lukaku's good days with them.

Andy Crooks
77 Posted 07/02/2017 at 20:27:16
Jay, Jamie Vardy had a great season but in my view that was his best, as good as it will ever get. We can do better.
Peter McHugh
78 Posted 07/02/2017 at 20:44:42
Guys, can we get over believing Lukaku is irreplaceable. If that was the case, every single club in world football would want him.

Off the top of my head, most Golden Boot players over the years were bought for a snip and then developed into great, some world class players. Kane, Henry, Hasselbank, Yorke, Owen, Suarez, Bale, Phillips, Cole, Van Persie, Vardy, Anelka, Berbatov.

Aside from perhaps Vardy, Phillips and Hasselbank I would say Lukaku will never be as good as them and most either promoted within or bought for loose change (Suarez perhaps an exception). The only striker who won Golden Boot and cost a load of money at the time was Shearer.

Lukaku is replaceable quite easily. I agree one of the best strikers we have had but it's just that we haven't had the scouts before (or at least not had any money). With Moshiri, Koeman and Walsh surely we can expect to get top players in should Lukaku leave. By the way I think he's really good and hope he stays.

Lev Vellene
79 Posted 07/02/2017 at 20:55:13
Peter (#78).

We can 'quite easily' replace Lukaku with a wet towel... That won't get us 20-30 (crossing fingers!) goals a season, though!

I'd think strikers were the first to catch the attention of any scouts, so finding an uncut jewel like Kante or Gueye to immediately perform well at the top level, won't be as easy!

Stan Schofield
80 Posted 07/02/2017 at 21:08:18
Peter@78:

I don't think anyone has said he's irreplaceable, just very difficult to replace. As such, it's sensible to retain him to maximise our chances of improvement, like it's sensible to retain any player of his calibre.

Why make life difficult if we can avoid it? Everton life has been difficult enough.

Paul Birmingham
81 Posted 07/02/2017 at 21:13:30
There's a long way to go and if the goals run dry and I hope they don't, then the rumours fade. He's on song at the moment and if he has matured as he says he has, let's see the results on the pitch. I'd like to think our new board will be following a business plan to grow the club including the team and realise full it's potential.

Money talks but for me the board must do the business and secure his services. This summer will be interesting and let's see whom we get in. I really hope Rom stays.
Peter McHugh
82 Posted 07/02/2017 at 21:25:27
Lev - Lukaku's been here 3 seasons I think and has never scored 20 league goals yet alone 30! I expect him to score 20 this season but why over egg the pudding. There are other and dare I say it better strikers.

Obviously I could be wrong he's only 23 getting better and light years ahead at his age than Drogba was so maybe like someone said before he will be best striker in the world in 3 or 4 years.

Until we get better, let's try and keep him but he ain't the messiah, that's all

Gavin Johnson
83 Posted 07/02/2017 at 21:28:00
I hope Lukaku stays for another season. If we have a good transfer window in the summer and manage to sign our targets like Michael Keane, it would be no surprise if we finished in the top 4. As a club we are on the ascendancy, and we're slowly regaining our status (not just in name) as one of the English games biggest clubs.

After another transfer window closing without doing the obvious and bringing in a quality striker, it did make me wonder that while Rom's at the club will we ever be looking to spend big money on another striker, after all he's the main man at the club. I'm sure this is the reason he seemingly did a U-turn and we had his agent saying pretty complementary things about us in the summer.

Lukaku wouldn't have been untouchable at the Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Barca or Real last summer, he still wouldn't be now, but another season in, he's looking even better. Last Saturday was a complete performance. He probably will go unless we do something incredible like gate crash the top 4 this season and we'll get £80m from one of the aforementioned clubs.

If we sell, we need to try and go all out to sign Aguero. He's the only feasible established replacement who is a 20-goal striker, year in, year out. If we're in the Europa League and announce the new stadium. I don't see why we couldn't sign him. We're already showing signs commercially that we're starting to think like a top 4 club.

However, as with Michael Keane, what's the chance of signing a player like Aguero when clubs like the RS are crying out for a CB and striker. It's no good having £80m in the bank if we can't sign the players we want.

If we're playing fantasy football, I'd have no problem selling Rom if we managed to buy 2 strikers like Aguero and Dembele. Would it happen though??

Peter McHugh
84 Posted 07/02/2017 at 21:29:10
Sorry I shouldn't have said 'replaceable easily' – that's wrong word but I would expect us to replace him adequately if he were to leave.
Jay Wood
85 Posted 07/02/2017 at 21:48:44
Dave @ 76.

"Jay you are conducting how good or or how bad Lukaku is like a murder case, is he guilty or not guilty."

Blimey Dave. Not given to exaggerate much, eh?

My original post was a very simple question:

Is Lukaku an asset or a liability to the club?

By framing the question like that, it removes a great deal of subjective opinion about the player and the man, which tends to be the bane of many a Lukaku-related thread on TW.

As you fence sat on that original question, I reframed it by simply adding the word "Overall" as a prefix.

You continued to fence sit, as is your right Dave.

You justify that now by saying "nearly half of his goals have come in 2 games," highlighting the number of games he has NOT scored in. From that you deduce that "he hasn't put the effort in around eight or nine games."

Yet you offer just one example when you consider he was "very poor" - against Watford, when - by your own admission - he scored 2 goals. You also throw in "that [is] enough for some like yourself to say he couldn't be all that bad if he scored two."

Well ... like ... yeah Dave. That's how football works! The most difficult task to accomplish on a football field, especially at PL level, is to score goals.

All week in training, your team works on how to score them and how to stop the opposition scoring against you. In another corner of the country, your weekend opposition is doing the same.

I recall the post-match thread following the Watford game and posters offering the same (sorry to say this Dave) warped logic you are repeating here.

The prime target of criticism following the defeat at Watford was Romelu Lukaku. There were posters stating ANYBODY on the thread could have scored the goals he did . that he was to blame for Watford's 1st goal (totally ignoring the 3-4 other phases of play AFTER RL lost the ball - in Watford's half! - and how Williams in particular simply allowed the scorer to run past him) . How better defending by Watford would have prevented his brace.

As a few pointed out to such charges, there were many other things to pick the bones out of that particular game ahead of having (for some...) yet another pop at Romelu.

You seem to be echoing a common trait used by Lukaku's harshest critics - somehow trying to discount some of his goals to diminish his actual tally and, by extension, his contribution to the team. There was one poster who told us his granny could have scored the hat-trick Lukaku notched against Sunderland.

In this very thread, John Daley describes very well and fairly how RL has played this season. Contrary to what you are suggesting, he has improved many aspects of his game recently. There is an excessive workload and expectancy placed on Lukaku's shoulders because, as John points out, he HAS to play. There can be no respite for the man because the alternatives are barely worth considering.

You evidently hold a contrary opinion about the merits or otherwise of Romelu Lukaku to my own.

I hold he is the club's very best playing asset - both in what he offers on the pitch and his monetary value to the club.

I truly cannot fathom how people cannot - will not - acknowledge this.

Dave Abrahams
87 Posted 07/02/2017 at 22:04:18
Jay, I used the Watford game to (try) and show he has poor games in matches he scores in and games he doesn't score in. You used three paragraphs over the Watford game, I'm not sitting on the fence, I have already said he has good games and bad games. When he is good he is worth the praise he gets, when he plays poorly he deserves the criticism he gets. He doesn't get it off me after a bad game, does he get it off you?

Jay you have spoke about Lukaku quite a bit on this thread before you asked that question. Anyway, you like Lukaku fair enough. I'd like him as much as you if he put the effort in every game, he doesn't and and until he does I'll have mixed feelings about him.

Jay Wood
88 Posted 08/02/2017 at 13:39:00
Dave "Jay you have spoke about Lukaku quite a bit on this thread before you asked that question."

Not true ole son. I made one comment @ 45, correcting Lukaku's goals stats as badly reported by a journalist before I asked my simple question @47.

Any subsequent exchanges between us resulted from you being the only respondent to that question in your post @50.

And I still don't understand how you regard him as (in your words) 'a handicap.'

Soz!

Raymond Fox
90 Posted 08/02/2017 at 14:23:21
He won't be an Everton player next season unless the club slap a ridiculous fee on him. In fact, I'd be contacting interested clubs now to see what they would be willing offer now that his star is shining bright.

Do I want him to stay? Of course I do, if given a choice, but I can't see him being here if a Champions League club come in for him.

Dave Abrahams
91 Posted 08/02/2017 at 14:32:54
Jay (89) yes you are correct, I worded that wrongly, should have wrote on the subject of Lukaku.

Not hard to understand, Jay: when he doesn't put the effort in he is an handicap, like any player in the same circumstances.

I follow your posts with interest, you speak a lot of sense... we just don't see eye to eye over Lukaku.

Tony Abrahams
92 Posted 08/02/2017 at 14:45:35
What have I told you about exaggerating things, Davie? I've just read through the depths, post 60, and I can't believe that people just can't get their facts right!

It's the tactics, for me though, because, even on Saturday, Lukaku looked like a bad player for ten minutes when Everton couldn't get out of there own half and he was left up-front on his own totally isolated.

Graham Mockford
93 Posted 08/02/2017 at 16:03:52
Tony

It's alright, it's now called presenting 'alternative facts'!

Tony Abrahams
94 Posted 08/02/2017 at 16:43:48
Getting paid to tell lies, Graham, it's why I rarely listen to these so-called experts.
Steve Brown
95 Posted 08/02/2017 at 16:50:27
Why does everyone called Peter or Dave dislike Rom?
Mike Dolan
96 Posted 08/02/2017 at 16:50:49
Whether Lukaku stays or leaves in the summer is probably up to him. From the point of view of Everton, we are in a far different position than we were just a year ago.

I cannot help but think that although Lukaku is all of the superlatives that are bestowed upon him, he is still a bit of a luxury in terms of a modern team. For him to be effective, everything in front has to go through him.

Ideally, any team has to function better when it becomes harder to defend against so maybe – and as much as I love Rom – the team would be better with two fast mobile forwards sharing Rom's awesome stats and his massive transfer fee between them.

Lineker was brought up but was he as good for the team as Young and Vernon?

Stan Schofield
97 Posted 08/02/2017 at 19:35:01
Mike, if you can find us two players of the calibre of Young and Vernon to replace Lukaku, that would be great. But you're not going to, are you? Fact is, we have a top-class striker, possibly the best in the Premier League.

Yes, there are all kinds of alternative scenarios for striker combinations, but they're all hypothetical. Us having Lukaku is a fact, not a theory. To change that without a realistic alternative would be madness, and in all likelihood a path to continuing mediocrity.

Steve Ferns
98 Posted 08/02/2017 at 19:54:38
He's irreplaceable. We've had 30 years to find a 20 (league) goal a season striker and it's only now we have one. We've had plenty capable, Cottee, Campbell, even Yakubu, but they all showed how hard it is to maintain form and stay injury free.

Anyone thinking we can play fantasy football and draft another player in just as good is living in La La Land. Anything over than keeping Rom is a gamble, so we could only sell if we're guaranteed a stupid amount (over £80m) without add ones.

Darren Hind
99 Posted 08/02/2017 at 20:41:22
"Nobody, I mean NOBODY in the wide wide world of footy gives a single solitary rip about Rom's hold up play (except a few blues)."

You couldn't be more wrong Mike. His team mates and his manager will go through periods of handwringing frustration.

When a ball is knocked into a big man, the whole team are desperate for him to make it stick. Not only does it relieve pressure, but if he can hold it, it allows others to get up to him and build an attack.

It can be very costly if the ball bounces off him. The players trying to get up to support him can be caught in no-man's land, or worse still the whole team can be caught going forward leaving them vulnerable to a counter-attack.

We all see a forward's strike rates and his assists, but where are the stats that show you how many attacks have broken down because of poor control? How many stats show you how reluctant midfield players are to bust a gut to support a guy who is making like a lamppost? The loss of confidence in him. How many stats will tell you how many goal chances are conceded because the front man's poor control gave the opposition the chance to launch a counter attack?

I don't believe there is another striker in the world who would have had the pace and the power to score the fifth goal on Saturday. his all round game was quite spectacular. BUT the guy has his flaws and to suggest nobody gives a single solitary rip about his hold-up play is just wrong.

It's Lukaku's hold-up play which makes the big boys look hard and then turn away. It his hold-up play which attracts the criticism from the fans, its his inability to make it stick which makes his team mates think twice about busting a gut to get along side him..

Yes, if somebody comes in for him and offers £45- 50m, it will be because they think he will score enough goals to justify paying that kind of money, but for £80 million, they want the full package.

You can be very certain that the people charged with making Lukaku a more complete player will be spending a lot of time working on his hold-up play.

Obviously Its not the primary reason strikers are on the pitch, but it is a vital part of their game.

Eugene Ruane
100 Posted 08/02/2017 at 22:15:10
Steve # 98 - Irreplaceable might be overstating things a bit but generally agree.

We (well..er..Barkley, Davies, Lookman) hopefully have figured that a good supply/ratio of balls for him to run onto will undoubtedly be more fruitful than leathering waist-high balls at him when he has his back to goal (and no one in support).

Hope we keep him, but should he be sold, given the present (ludicrous) market, it shouldn't be for a bean less than £80m.

Steve Ferns
101 Posted 08/02/2017 at 23:03:22
I don't mean completely irreplaceable Eugene. If we had a blank cheque book I'm sure we could. Or perhaps a crystal ball to see the next big thing.

Otherwise, we won't get someone of his quality and then we're gambling on someone else's development.

Oliver Molloy
102 Posted 08/02/2017 at 23:50:26
The club must try and get him to sign an extension. Any BIG transfer fee would be based on the years Lukaku has remaining with us.

It will be no surprise if both him and Barkley sign new deals very shortly .

Will Mabon
103 Posted 09/02/2017 at 11:22:59
I want him to stay without question.

As to value – the "Silly money" bid level seems to be estimated as around £75-80 million.

To that end, considering the almost universally accepted fact that goal scoring is the hardest task in football, hence strikers the most valuable or expensive players... I offer for your contemplation, the £89 million phenomenon, Paul Pogba.

Peter Lee
104 Posted 10/02/2017 at 22:30:28
One man doesn't make a team, but some would be very difficult to replace. Rom is one, Kane, Costa and Sanchez are three others. Ibrahimovich has probably done enough to be in that category, Aguero pre-Pep certainly was. The idea that these can be replaced like-for-like is cloud-cuckoo land.

Man City have shown the way. Take a punt sooner rather than later on a replacement and then use him. Gives the main man a break, and gives the new man and the team time to understand each other. That might have been what Koeman was about with Calvert-Lewin.

I think there's something to said about occasionally playing one and one off where the deeper player has license to make a two, particularly on the break.

Tony Hill
105 Posted 10/02/2017 at 22:47:39
That cameo of Calvert-Lewin before he was injured was very promising. Ridiculous, of course, to draw too much from it but he looked suddenly at home in the position described by Peter. I have high hopes for that lad.
Mike Dolan
106 Posted 10/02/2017 at 23:09:40
I wasn't saying we should sell Rom; I like him. What I was saying though is that up front we need a fast mobile goal scorer that can dovetail with Rom.

Now the four goals last week are a cause for celebration but I can't help but think that, if we only have one streaky player to score goals then, against the really top sides, we will have one streaky player who will probably get shut down for that game. We need a second striker.

Barcelona have Messi a galaxy ahead of Rom as a goal scorer yet they bring in Saurez and Neymar. Why?

Drew O'Neall
107 Posted 10/02/2017 at 23:36:08
I know this won't be very popular the week after he's scored 4 but I'd contest that Lukaku isn't a great lone striker by any stretch of the imagination.

If he gets the ball around the box, he's always a danger but his hold up and link play leaves loads to be desired and frankly that's the main role of the target man in most games. That makes him a 'flat-track bully' for all but the exception of games.

I hope he can add the dutiful part to his game because he can do the hard part which is banging the ball in the net and if he could master the back-to-goal stuff, in the same way Ibrahimovic has, he would genuinely be world class.

Drew O'Neall
108 Posted 10/02/2017 at 23:47:05
Mike (#106),

I think what we need up with him is a genuine target man because, despite Rom's stature, he plays more like the other guy.

Imagine Rom being on the end of knock downs in the box.. It's probably the piece we are missing.

John Pierce
109 Posted 13/02/2017 at 04:29:11
Rom is fatally flawed, replete with goals, yet missing the ingredients to attract a full on mega bid from the Royal Houses of Spain and Germany.

Doomed to be a big fish in a small pond. His goals will remain consistent I would think but perhaps the technical skills needed to be that complete center forward will always escape him.

It is perhaps dawning on both he and Riola that the mega move isn't there and actually Everton might be as good as it gets.

His destiny will be PSG for his crack at the Champions League. Close to his homeland, with hardly any domestic trouble he might have an impact at Champions League level.

I'll miss his goals for sure, but not much else.

Alexander Murphy
110 Posted 13/02/2017 at 06:24:32
Steve Hogan, I've read or reread your piece several times now and it's very very good indeed.

Romelu Lukaku really should be revered by all Evertonians, he really should. That he isn't is our shortcoming – NOT his.

Job Title: Goal Scorer

Job Description:
a) The post holder will be required to score goals for Everton FC.
b) The post holder should score frequently and consistently.
c) There will be no upper limit to the number of goals scored per season by the post holder (a previous incumbent tallied a remarkable 60, the post holder should feel free to approach, equal or indeed surpass this unequalled measure of excellence).

The unique football genius that was Brian Clough focussed his attention upon the strengths of his players rather than labouring away to remove their weaknesses. He won the European Cup two years running with Nottingham Forest.

Romelu, despite his record breaking returns for his age, is yet a baby as strikers go. Yet far too many here on TW see him as a paycheck. I do not. To view him that way simply reflects the sad, pathetic state that Everton FC has dwindled to since the eighties.

Everton FC should and MUST display our real true ambition by securing Romelu Lukaku for his entire career. Anything less is simply loser mentality, our decades of doldrums as a cheapskate "mend and make do" second-rate outfit admiring the "Big Boys" feeling privileged to mind their coats while they barge us aside and challenge for the true prizes . well those decades can stretch into a century. Ask Proud Preston, the very first "Invincibles".

If ANY supporter of Everton FC seriously sees Romelu as a cash cow then it bellows loud and clear the difference between "little Everton" and the noisy neighbours. They expect and demand success, we have been drilled to accept that avoiding failure in the form of relegation is an achievement. In doing this, we automatically accept that they are superior.

Well not for me.

Retain Romelu, at any costs. But add more of his supreme quality throughout the entire squad. Not sell him because he isn't completely perfect yet, at 23. My god, how many of us were absolutely bloody marvellous in every respect at the grand age of 23?

Romelu Lukaku isn't perfect, neither was William Ralph Dean. Billy wouldn't give a blow of a ragman's bugle about Rom's first touch, but he'd laugh his Royal Blue socks off at him scoring four !

£100m in the bank won't replace Big Rom. He IS one of the absolute elite goalscorers in world football and will be for a decade to come. Just drop this pathetic tiny-minded nitpicking and look his gift straight in the eye. He IS a goal machine! Already!

Love and adore him and he'll score even more.

(Just as a post scrip to the above rant, Rom is ONE goal shy of our hero Big Dunc as Evertons leading goalscorer of the Premier League era. Furthermore, the press and media are still lauding 36-year-old Peter Crouch for becoming the 39th player to score 100 PL goals. That achievement took Crouchy just FIFTEEN seasons. Romelu Lukaku scored FIFTY PL goals before his 23rd birthday, joining just four others to do so. Big Rom has already scored 76 PL goals (77 according to some sources) since his Chelsea debut during the 2011-12 season.)

David Cawley
112 Posted 21/03/2017 at 18:43:00
Why would Rom stay? Assuming he does go, and it is to a Premier League team, what are his options?

At this moment in time, I think that only Chelsea and Spurs are ahead in performances on the pitch and the next five teams are more or less evenly matched in personnel. Both Man City and Arsenal will see massive changes in the summer so will be teams in development. Man Utd are still way short of where they want to be and need 2 or 3 top players while Liverpool lack consistency and would never be allowed to sign him.

I think he will still be with us next season until at least the January window and by not negotiating now and signing with an agreement to be released for a certain fee, he is depriving himself of around £2 million or so until Everton release him early 2018.

The summer signings will say a lot about our ambitions but if he takes into consideration other teams' situations, he will only go to Chelsea and, if Costa stays, will they want him? And Spurs have Kane. Should be an interesting Summer but I haven't given up on keeping him yet.

Philip Yensen
113 Posted 22/04/2017 at 08:48:45
Our recent form is coming because other players beside Lukaku are getting on the score sheet. Opponents now have to look elsewhere other than Lukaku. When Lineker finished top scorer we won nothing, he left and the goals were spread throughout the team.

We are starting to blend and support Rom. Another 3 players, keeper, centre half and left mid. What ever happens with Rom nothing we can do but keep faith with Koeman.

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