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Ademola Lookman 31

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 promised to be an exciting addition to the Blues' squad.

Two-footed and with an eye for goal, it was no doubt hoped that as he developed, he could provide a reliable source of creativity and goals in a team that once 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 prepared for the Premier League was always going to be his physique. Observers of him suggest that he would 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.

Though a live-wire going forward, Lookman found consistency in his game hard to come by in his first few months with the club and his defensive defiencies made him a tough sell as a starting player in Ronald Koeman's line-ups.

That became a bigger issue for the young forward in the first half of 2017-18 as Everton struggled badly for form and results and had dropped into the bottom three by mid-October. Koeman paid for it with his job and Lookman found his particular talents in lower demand as first David Unsworth and then permanent appointment, Sam Allardyce, focused on shoring up a leaky defence and trying to get back to basics.

With the ship seemingly steaded by the new manager by Christmas 2017, it was hoped that Lookman would get more of a look-in. In light of his starring role over the summer for England U20s as they went to lift the U20s World Cup and an impressive two-goal performance for the Blues in the Europa League "dead rubber" against Apollon Limassol in November that year, it was hoped that he could be used frequently as an impact substitute to change games off the bench.

Unfortunately, the reward for his exploits in Cyprus was further frustration watching on from the sidelines until he was thrown on as a second-half sub against Liverpool in a FA Cup 3rd Round tie in January 2018 where his direct running and cross-field ball helped create an equaliser for Gylfi Sigurdsson. 

Lookman was dropped for the two subsequent matches, however. Despite Allardyce's assertion that he needed the young Englishman as an option, it was a further signal that he was unlikely to get the game time he needed so when Red Bull Leipzig made an offer to take him on loan for the remainder of the 2017-18 season, he jumped at the prospect of more game time playing in the Bundesliga.



Squad number 31
Position Forward
Nationality English
Born Southwark, London
Date of birth 20 October 1997
Height 5' 8½"
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 Manchester City (H)
15 January 2017
Full debut v Bournemouth (H)
4 February 2017
Previous/Other Clubs Charlton Athletic
RB Leipzig (loan)
» Soccerbase Datafile
» Wikipedia Entry

Everton Career

Season Squad No. League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2016-17 31 3 (5) 1 0 (0) 0 3 (5) 1
2017-18 31 1  ( 6 ) 0 4 ( 5 ) 2 5 ( 11 ) 2
  Totals 4 (11) 1 4 (5) 2 8 (16) 3

Previous Career

Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
2016-17 Charlton Athletic 25 7
2015-16 Charlton Athletic 17(7) 5

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