They were bombarded with criticism for their loans last season, but are taking a different approach for the 2014/15 campaign. With Gareth Barry, an ex-loanee, signed on a permanent and also adding the excellent Muhamed Besic to their squad, Everton completed the signing of another 2013/14 loan star for a club record fee.
After impressing last time round, Lukaku still failed to impress the management at Chelsea as they deemed him not good enough for a starting berth. Chelsea’s loss (if they consider it that), is Everton’s gain. Having scored 16 goals last season in all competitions and finishing as the top scorer at the Merseyside club, the 21-year-old has been welcomed with open arms at Goodison Park.
Though Chelsea’s star-studded squad may allow the club to avoid any regret, in the long term this may well be the player that got away from the London club. At the start of the calendar year 2014, we compiled our list of 100 Best Young Players to Watch-out for in 2014, divided into 10 Goalkeeper, 30 Defenders, 30 Midfielders and 30 Attackers (Forward & Wingers). The Belgian Lukaku was right at the top of that feature coming in at #1 in the list of attackers. Though some of those players in the list may have not performed as high as their ranking suggests at the half-way point of the year, we still maintain Romelu Lukaku as the #1 attacker for the remainder of 2014.
Added to the above, Romelu Lukaku’s performances also earned him a place in our inaugural Talent Radar Young Player Awards for the 2013/14 season. He was named the Forward of the Season by the readers based on votes and was also voted into the Readers’ Team of the Season. Having said that we, the editors, didn’t feature him in either of those, favouring Swiss Josip Drmic ahead of him in both awards. The reason Lukaku made the list of 100 and Drmic didn’t is because of the age criteria, which Drmic was well above.
Prior to the World Cup, we also prepared a list of 25 Young Players to watch at the World Cup, with the Belgian at #7. However, as we’ve seen, his performances were rather disappointing and he didn’t feature in our top 10 review list of the summer tournament. Although Evertonians are well-aware of Romelu Lukaku and his abilities, this Scout Report might help remind readers of just how exceptional he really is.
All in all, though a large fee for a 21-year-old in this inflated modern football market, the price tag shouldn’t be a concern as long as the club see it within their means to pay. He is undoubtedly a fantastic individual who’ll only add value to the club and we believe he most definitely will be at the top of World football for years to come. Talent Radar will continue to track his progress.