It’s almost hard to believe that Romelu Lukaku was once an unwanted outcast with Chelsea back in 2012 when he was shipped away on loan to West Brom after making just 15 appearances in all competitions for the Blues. An impressive record of 17 goals in 38 games during his season with West Brom prompted interest from Everton and after another successful loan spell, he signed for the Merseyside club permanently in the summer of 2014.
Since his days with Chelsea, Lukaku has proved on numerous occasions, the raw talent that once attracted the Blues. But did Chelsea make a mistake in letting him go? Since joining Everton for £28m, the striker has netted 39 times in just 75 appearances. His recent run of form saw him score in seven consecutive matches – the first time an Everton player has done so in over 40 years. In November 2015, he became only the fifth player in Premier League history to score 50 league goals before turning 23. Lukaku joined the illustrious company of Fowler, Owen, Rooney and Ronaldo when he became only the second foreign player to make the record.
His goal-scoring record is impressive and for someone who is still young, his talent is raw. Ironically, Lukaku’s quality is something Chelsea now lack but would he make an impact at the rest of the Premier League’s top clubs? Aside from Manchester City, Lukaku would stake a strong claim to a position in Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham’s starting XI.
Sergio Aguero, widely regarded as the best striker in the Premier League, would no doubt make Manchester City’s starting line-up but the injury-prone Argentine could benefit from a potential partnership with Lukaku. The Belgian youngster is a strong and powerful figure who can adapt as a lone striker or as part of a front two. With Aguero’s pace and movement off the ball, Lukaku’s aerial strength and ability to hold the ball up would add an extra dimension to Manchester City’s attack. However, whilst Wilfried Bony and Aguero remain on City’s books, Lukaku’s influence isn’t necessary to the former champions.
It’s a different matter however, when you consider the potential improvement Lukaku could make to the rest of the Premier League’s top clubs. Liverpool in particular, have struggled in recent seasons since the departure of Luis Suarez, to name a recognised striker in their starting line-up. Sturridge’s injury worries continue and it looks more likely his career may come to an end at Anfield. Everton’s rivals invested in Cristian Benteke and Danny Ings in the summer and welcomed Divock Origi after his loan spell at previous club, Lille. However, with Ings and Origi joining Liverpool’s injury list, Benteke has shouldered the attacking responsibility with underwhelming success.
Despite remaining Liverpool’s top goal-scorer, the Belgian has struggled since making the switch from Aston Villa to Merseyside and has recently seen his position in the starting XI questioned as Roberto Firmino has headed the attack. Benteke has netted on just seven occasions for Liverpool – a record not as bad as last season’s Mario Balotelli but well short of his tally at Villa last season. However, the Reds would benefit from the goal-scoring ability of Lukaku and he may just be the difference Liverpool need to make the top 4.
According to Whoscored.com stats, Lukaku has had 3.4 shots per game for Everton this season. With 19 goals in 27 appearances, the Belgian striker has netted a goal on average after every 2 shots – a record that would challenge any striker in the league’s top six. Recent seasons have proved that in-form strikers can make all the difference when battling for the title and Leicester’s Jamie Vardy is doing just that.
Chelsea’s disastrous season is a complete contrast to the high’s of 2014-15 which saw them lift the Premier League title for a third time under Jose Mourinho. However, last season’s high flyers, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, have produced poor performances in attack this campaign and Chelsea have suffered as a result. Lukaku’s former club need goals and the Belgian has bags of them. The striker posseses many qualities and traits which liken him to former Blue, Didier Drogba, who proved to be highly succesful during his time with the club. Chelsea may have sold the player they need to rescue their season.
Manchester United’s captain, Wayne Rooney, also enjoyed glory days with Everton as he started his succesful career in the Premier League. However, recent performances and goal droughts have tinted United’s campaign and they appear to be well out of the title race. Anthony Martial has added goals to United’s tally but they are still lacking a strong goal-scorer up front. Rooney, who has enjoyed strong partnerships with Van Persie, Tevez, Ronaldo and Van Nisterooy amongst others, and a front two including Lukaku sounds just as inviting. Rooney, who likes to come in-field to collect the ball, would work well with Lukaku who often runs in behind the opposition defence. His aerial presence would also suit LVG’s side, who posses strong passers in midfield, able to put inviting balls into the box.
Lukaku may not appear to be a player suited to Arsenal’s quick passing and creative play but the striker’s pace and ability to hold the ball up would prove extremely effective for the Gunners. Giroud is enjoying a fantastic season, and his hold up play has created a number of opportunities for Arsenal on the counter attack. Lukaku, who’s style of play is similar to Giroud’s, offers more movement than the Frenchman and he would no doubt add more goals to the Arsenal attack.
Harry Kane’s wonder season last year seemed to come to an end when the Engand international struggled to get on the score sheet at the start of the season. However, recent games has seen him return to form and Tottenham’s attacking trio of Lamela, Eriksen and Alli have all provided goals. Even so, the idea of Lukaku partnering Kane in the Tottenham attack would excite anybody and it’s easy to see why. Both Kane and Lukaku are strong finishers and the two together would provide an abundance of goals. Tottenham have players who can run at pace and dribble with skill and Lukaku possesses both those skills. He would prove effective in a team which enjoy success in counter-attacking football.
Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea are all struggling this season – Diego Costa, Wayne Rooney and Christian Benteke have underperformed. Whilst Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham are enjoying strong seasons, there’s no doubt Lukaku would challenge their squads for a starting position. It won’t be long before the top clubs are once again interested in his signature. For £28m, Everton gained a bargain in Romelu Lukaku and they must treasure him whilst they can.