With the astronomical and ever-increasing fee for Romelu Lukaku being touted in the press and Ronald Koeman’s stated desire to keep him at the club, I began to think about how important he is to the team.
I must confess, I began my musings thinking that he was absolutely vital to the continued progress towards forcing the media to acknowledging that there is a “Big Seven”... but, the more I thought about it, the more I began to think this might not be the case.
Now I am not for a minute saying he is not a very, very good player and my thoughts are not based on any statistical analysis, but as I went through the more recent games, it did occur to me that on many occasions his goal-scoring prowess is most prevalent when the game is already won or at least we are already winning and time is running out (eg, vs Burnley he got the 3rd goal after 74 mins when we were 2-1 up; vs Hull City the 3rd and 4th in injury time when already 2-0 up; and vs West Brom the third after 82 mins when already 2-0 up – all of these in the last 6 weeks).
I am perfectly happy to be told I am smoking the wrong stuff to be even speculating about Rom’s value to us (I do not get to many games these days and I am well aware of the limits of watching on TV), or for someone with the relevant stats to point out how his points-per-goal ratio is better than anyone else’s, or that the last few weeks have been a statistical blip, or even for someone to say, "For god's sake we have a player who is likely to win the Golden Boot for the first time in a generation so just shut up and enjoy it!" – but what would we have given for a striker to sniff out one goal in a poor game against West Ham instead of two in the dying embers of the Hull game?
Reader Comments (47)
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1 Posted 25/04/2017 at 09:22:34
Personal opinion about Lukaku is that he is not good for Everton FC as a team player. He scores goals, plenty of them, he also misses a lot. Nearly every chance we make is to Lukaku, everything has to go through him. We make ourselves weaker by having him the only proper goalscorer.
He may be on 20 odd goals but who is next? Jags, Coleman and Ross I think on 4 each. That's an awful return for the joint 2nd top scorer with only 4 games left. Problem with Lukaku is he doesn't switch on game after game. He plays when he wants and mopes around when he wants. Very rarely does he turn up for a big game and when we really need him to inspire he just goes missing.
He blatantly doesn't want to be here so I would sell to the highest bidder. We may well not get the goals he scores from anybody else but what we would get is a team player, someone who will bring others into play and set others up as well as getting set up himself. We will still make chances but those chances will be converted by others in various positions rather than everyone just looking for Lukaku and wasting chances.
Lukaku may well go to a better team and become a better team player when he is not top dog. That Billy big bollocks attitude may get knocked out of him by better team players. Doubt it though. The Lukaku show is all about him and he is not about to let anybody else steal the limelight.
Those players mentioned above are all team players, they score their share of goals but also create lots for others. Can you even see Lukaku mentioned in the same breath as them? No me either. They are proper players, Lukaku plays for himself, very rarely for anyone else.
I'd much rather have a player who wants to play for us and be a team player. He is disruptive for us and way too big headed for someone who still can't turn it on against the big boys and away from home on a regular basis. If he wants away, let him go and we will be all the better for it. No-one is irreplaceable.
2 Posted 25/04/2017 at 09:58:24
Part of me thinks we just take Nathan Ake, Tammy Abraham and £60m from Chelsea the day that the window opens and be done with it.
3 Posted 25/04/2017 at 11:05:20
4 Posted 25/04/2017 at 11:15:20
Lukaku is by far and away the top scorer but it's embarrassing that we don't have any attacking midfielder, wide or central that seems capable of getting near double figures.
The likes of Barkley and Mirallas should be relied upon with their so-called talents to score 9 or 10 goals, Mirallas has been in and out a lot this season but Barkley's goal return is appalling, he's scored THREE goals in open play since November 2015 , remarkably fewer than the elusive Aaron Lennon in the same time scale.
We don't have the goals input from midfield like we once had when you could probably rely on 20 plus from Cahill, Arteta and Fellaini combined.
Lukaku may be a flat track bully at times but face reality, without his 24 league goals we would be struggling this season for a top half finish.
6 Posted 25/04/2017 at 12:57:09
Poorly used at Liverpool, they never got the best out of him but play to his strengths and he'll score you goals; he is good at holding the ball up.
7 Posted 25/04/2017 at 13:05:24
Yes, he moans and sulks, but he is paid to score goals and he does that about as well as anyone in England. We need to keep him if we are to move on to the next level.
8 Posted 25/04/2017 at 13:46:12
That seems to be the problem – when he can't be arsed, he doesn't contribute anything else to the team. He spent most of the game stood next to the West Uam centre-halves. Only made one or two runs. Didn't seem interested at all.
9 Posted 25/04/2017 at 14:43:55
Lukaku needs men behind him who he can rely on to support him; that's why he seems to flourish when Valencia gets a cameo, sadly Mirallas is too wide, too inconsistent to do it regularly and Barkley lacks the brain or desire of a Tim Cahill or Steven Naismith to commit himself into the opposition penalty box, whilst young Tom Davies tries, and to be fair he's been as successful as the two mentioned at it lately but he's still not really the complete finished article and at times looks lost at what to do or where to be.
Its easy to slag Lukaku off after games like Saturday but you need men around you in the box, look at the amount men Crystal Palace had in Liverpool's area at Anfield with the score at 1-1 , they committed men because they wanted to win.
I watch Everton away from home and I ask myself the same thing every time, do we really want to win or is it just a case of do not lose? ?
Koeman's set-up in the home games has got the best from Lukaku; maybe if he started setting up some of the away games in a similar manner he may just get a similar Lukaku too!!
10 Posted 25/04/2017 at 14:54:58
I couldn't add anything to what Dave says at (#1), when he goes we will get someone else, that's the way it has always been and continue to be, I won't think twice about Lukaku after he has gone.
11 Posted 25/04/2017 at 17:12:09
Clearly that's not the whole picture as he has assists and creates space for others but I do not think Lukaku is as good as he thinks. He is in a team set up to play to his strengths so gets a lot of chances but very rarely changes a game on his own or creates something from nothing (Chelsea in the FA Cup last year aside) and he often goes missing in big games or seems to get stage fright. (He missed about 7 very good chances in last years FA Cup Semi-Final.)
No player is bigger than the club and the last few seasons his goals have actually had very little bearing on our league position (7 points this season & 8 last season).
12 Posted 25/04/2017 at 17:37:50
Those types of stats are just incredibly misleading and mostly useless. If we're leading by 1 and Lukaku scores a goal with 10 minutes to go to put us up by 2 goals, that would not factor into those stats as gaining points. But getting a goal to go up by 2 in the final minutes has a massive effect on the game, as you'll hear commentators say all the time "puts the game away".
When it's only a one goal lead, the opposition believes they still have a chance to get something from the match, so they continue to push hard. Once that second goal goes in the opposition is demoralized and know the match is up. It relieves tension in our team and makes it much easier to see the match out. Sorry, but every goal counts.
13 Posted 25/04/2017 at 17:41:54
I don't go to any away games Jim, though I'm a season ticket holder, but it must be really frustrating for you and others to see how we CAN play when we're at home and then see how we DO play when we're away from home.
It beggars belief how a team can be SO different and appear to lack any confidence and conviction. What's more annoying is where we could be if we'd have gone for a few of these away games and won them.
Hats off to you for going away and keep up the good work because our away support has been great all season. I just wish we could bottle some of it and release it at some of the home games!
14 Posted 25/04/2017 at 17:57:58
I have recently watched other forwards like Gray at Burnley and they ensure they get themselves between the defender and the ball and hold it up to link up play and bring others into the game.
I have to give him credit for his goalscoring but there are so many other aspects lacking in his game let alone the effect on team spirit of constantly blurting to the press that his team aren't good enough for him.
I see he was at the PFA with David Ruiz and Hazard so off you go Rom and don't let the door hit you on the way out. You will have to move a bit quicker though.
15 Posted 25/04/2017 at 17:58:54
16 Posted 25/04/2017 at 18:07:12
The home form shows how good an attack we can have, if Lukaku gets some support. he loss of Seamus has restricted the chances from the right wing, and Baines doesn't get over halfway as much as a few years ago.
The away form is the problem and it is down to our manager being too defensive. Not playing two up front leaves the big man with too much to do with two centre halves marking him.
Our midfield is just too slow . We must buy a quick-witted lad with good feet and an eye for goal.
17 Posted 25/04/2017 at 18:21:18
Kane is definitely the better all round player especially when Rom has one of those games where he resembles a bag of cement. However, the facts speak for themselves. Rom has scored 4 more goals than Kane, who also takes penalties.
Kane also has Eriksen & Alli setting them up in a plate for him. Rom may be a bit of flat-track bully, but there is no such thing as a bad goal. No matter he much winds me up at times, he will be very, very difficult to replace.
18 Posted 25/04/2017 at 18:35:37
19 Posted 25/04/2017 at 18:51:11
What's all this when players can call each other and plead with them to move to their club? Or managers can openly express an interest in another teams players? Or agents (Griezman's) can say Man Utd are the only team to show concrete interest in his client?
This didn't used to happen and I think it should be banned and made illegal. Any player, manager and/or agent caught doing this, the club should be deducted points and the players/agents fined or suspended. This isn't against free speech, this is against insider trading!
20 Posted 25/04/2017 at 18:51:47
Just asking out of interest, no challenge intended.
21 Posted 25/04/2017 at 21:52:40
22 Posted 25/04/2017 at 22:07:06
Specifically like this cherry on this cake Link
23 Posted 25/04/2017 at 22:07:51
Cheers, Dave. I can't really decide myself tbh. I think if we had better support players, both strikers would flourish even more but then you look at the quality of Kane's supporting players and he's still scored less than Lukaku.
For me, I think the ideal solution would be to play two up front with Lukaku's partner being a tricky, skilful, speed merchant in the Aguero mold. In a way, it's player versus team as, despite the fact Kane's scored less, his team is streets ahead of ours with goals coming from all over.
24 Posted 25/04/2017 at 22:20:35
25 Posted 25/04/2017 at 22:35:59
He has scored less because the Spurs team isn't set up just to play to him. Alli, Erikson and Son are all also into double figures this season so the chances their team make are spread around and they have more finishers in and around the box.
Lukaku is generally our only forward up top and never makes any sort of movement for the ball or across a defender that Kane makes. Also he won't head a ball, which as a centre-forward cannot be tolerated at the top level as it means goals go begging as in the West Ham game when he could have won it from Holgate's late cross had he not bottled it!
Last season at home to Spurs he had a golden headed opportunity at the far post which could also have been a match winner in a 1-1 draw but he also bottled it as he saw the post looming and obviously feared he was in danger of clashing with it.
Centre-forwards need a lot more 'bottle' than he's got.
26 Posted 25/04/2017 at 22:41:25
27 Posted 26/04/2017 at 08:17:04
28 Posted 26/04/2017 at 08:59:47
As I said the stat I mentioned doesn't tell the whole story but I still think Lukaku is a long way off being as good as he thinks he is. He is a master of scoring goals late on against tired stretched defences in a team that is set up to put chances on a plate for him.
I don't agree every goal counts, Carl's original post gives examples where they don't and there are plenty of other examples.
Eric Myles (#27) You are correct I did miss Leicester but it doesn't change the fact we'd still be 7th without his goals.
29 Posted 26/04/2017 at 09:42:31
"I'd rather lose than have a selfish player."
Rom to Chelsea not happening then.
30 Posted 26/04/2017 at 10:26:28
31 Posted 26/04/2017 at 12:29:01
I think Conte could be referring to Costa and the China crisis rather than a potential bid for Lukaku.
32 Posted 26/04/2017 at 13:01:39
This doesn't suggest to me that he thinks he's better than he is. What is true is that some folks on TW say that he thinks he's better than he is, which is a different thing. Perception of what Lukaku might think of himself, perhaps driven by media shite, rather than actual facts.
I see 'worth' as related to what people are prepared to pay. The £100M being quoted is not necessarily Lukaku's worth to other clubs, but it could be his worth to Everton, as assessed by Moshiri and the board influenced by Koeman's judgement and advice. In this sense, it could just be a figure that represents Everton saying, in practical terms, he's not for sale at the moment.
Anyway, another Lukaku thread that we could get to over 500 posts. Entertaining, but not as entertaining as The Beverley Hillbillies.
33 Posted 26/04/2017 at 13:17:28
Lukaku spends every interview spouting off he needs to be playing Champions League and acts as if his goals are all down to him alone as opposed to the result of a team set up to put them on a plate for him. He certainly thinks he's better than Everton and hasn't hidden that, he has always acted as if we are a stepping stone.
Of course he has said he knows he needs to improve too, and there have been areas of improvement, but he doesn't seem to accept working hard off the ball or gambling on a loose ball in the box etc are required to improve.
You look at players like Costa who influence games when they are not scoring whereas Lukaku offers little when he is not. In the big games, he either seems resigned to the fact we are going to loose and appears to put in little effort like the derby where there were a couple of chances he did have to run through on goal & he was half-hearted to say the least compared to how he is games against teams like Hull.
Or gets overawed by the occasion like last year's FA Cup Semi-Final where he missed about half-a-dozen clear-cut chances.
34 Posted 26/04/2017 at 13:31:43
The important thing is what is in the best interests of Everton, which is what I was hinting at in referring to how Moshiri and Koeman view his importance to their so-called 'project' at the moment. The initial stage of this 'project' is the three years of Koeman's contract, which coincides with two years being left on Lukaku's contract. The next two years are no doubt crucial to Moshiri and Koeman, which might explain why they might not be willing to sell him until July 2019.
There's just too much chit chat these days in the media, too many interviews with both players and managers, which is largely gossip and shite. It's like watching politicians bullshitting and waffling. Much of it is a diversion. His goals are real. He just needs to keep improving until he eventually leaves Everton.
35 Posted 26/04/2017 at 13:49:25
I agree, there is far too much chit chat in the media but my views on what he has said are based on the interviews and I have seen him do.
36 Posted 26/04/2017 at 14:12:32
I've seen the interviews as well, and for me nothing has raised my hackles, in that he comes across as very confident, knows his potential, realises there are areas to improve, but can say the wrong things with respect to being professional and respecting your paymaster.
Maybe Everton just need to tell him firmly to restrain what he says (or to just keep his gob shut), but let's be honest, Koeman hasn't helped by saying that Lukaku would eventually need to leave Everton. A bit of discipline and leadership by example wouldn't go amiss.
37 Posted 26/04/2017 at 14:17:39
I agree he had no service at all, but the great players as opposed to the very good players only need one chance and it's in the back of the net. Or they go and work their bollocks off for the team and create space for others to run into; Lukaku when he can't be arsed as on Saturday does neither. I do like the lad but sometimes he frustrates the hell out of me!
Our away form the season has been woeful. Koeman seems to have sorted the home form, but away it's still like watching Martinez's Everton: too much side to side backwards and side to side again and no movement up front for anyone to put a ball through or over the top.
38 Posted 26/04/2017 at 14:32:10
This season I can barely remember us having more than two or so away games when we have looked really creative attack wise at created chances..
39 Posted 26/04/2017 at 14:43:41
Man Utd proved how effective marking a dangerous player can be when they had one of their players stick to Hazard, even as someone joked (even to the toilets at half time) that nullified Chelsea's main danger.
If Lukaku is sold, as it may happen, we not only need another striker that can score, but also an attacking midfielder who can score.
The start of the transfer season should show what direction or ambition Everton want to go, and if Lukaku stays we have to bring in a couple of players who can provide a scoring threat so we have more than 1 man that has to be closely marked.
It will be either exiting or a let down at the end of the season, to see who the club bring in as reading the so called experts writings, we are going to sign at least 10 players . I think we may bring in 5 and hope that they are not all journeymen players but at least 4 quality players in their position.
Next season, with changes we all hope will happen, it will either prove that supporters are either right or wrong in their thoughts of Koeman's abilities as a manager.
40 Posted 26/04/2017 at 14:48:22
41 Posted 26/04/2017 at 15:00:18
To some moneybags team he will go and Everton need to cash in quickly so that they have plenty of time to use the money wisely on key positions.
I see Jagielka, Williams, Baines and Barry as being past their primes. It's time for a changing of the guard if Koeman is to usher in some good youngsters permanently who have the energy, speed and desire to make this team a contender for real next season.
With Holgate, Davies, Calvert-Lewin and Pennington all chomping at the bit I see no reason to keep others like Lennon, McCarthy or Kone.(amazingly still here).
Ross Barkley has great talent but somehow doesn't deliver it too often and looks unhappy. He may also decide to seek pastures new.
42 Posted 26/04/2017 at 15:05:47
You're right, although last season we would have lost that game.
Just going through the away games I have been to this season off the top of my head, apart from 60 minutes at WBA, the 2nd half at Sunderland, and conceding a last-minute penalty at Old Trafford, the performances have been woeful. Burnley away... Chelsea away... Southampton away...
43 Posted 26/04/2017 at 15:27:57
44 Posted 26/04/2017 at 15:35:02
It's pretty grim reading in terms of attack and hopefully whoever is leading the threat going forward next season that we greatly improve on that return.
45 Posted 26/04/2017 at 16:51:50
I have to agree with you there, although the announcements on the ground appeared to show ambition by Moshiri, but as he seems to be looking, as stated, at more investors, it seem to cloud the issue a little on what he actually proposes to do with his finances to move the club forward.
46 Posted 26/04/2017 at 17:06:21
There must be some systematic reason for this. The away tactics have often been so containing and defensive, almost predictably bad. There may be other factors like mentality and lack of depth in the squad, but surely they can't explain such a big difference, particularly when you consider the better away form last season.
I think Lukaku often gets the brunt of criticism for some bad away performances, something that rarely happens for home games. I'm not saying he's without criticism, just that the focus on him seems too much. That in itself seems to reflect how much we rely on him. It's OK some folks saying sell him and get two energetic replacements, but there's no guarantee that would solve the away issue unless the away tactics are put right.
47 Posted 26/04/2017 at 17:18:37
48 Posted 26/04/2017 at 18:39:57
Whether he stays or goes, our tactics away from home need to be sorted. There's no issue with our home performances.
If he stays, and the away tactics are sorted, then we're not faced with a lot of uncertainty; we can reasonably expect competing in the top-6, especially with new signings to bolster the squad.
In contrast, if he goes this summer, we're faced with a lot of uncertainty, since it's not clear how to replace him with comparable goal scoring prowess. Folks have their theories on options for replacements, but that's all hypothetical. I believe we need to deal in the here and now, in what we can reasonably expect, rather than in what might happen hypothetically.
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