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Was he right to question the ambition of his club?
Alex: Certainly not in public. He said that there were good players that other Premier League clubs bought that Everton missed out on. That may well have been true, but he needs to remember that he plays for Everton, and that last summer was their first transfer window with big money. They were willing to spend a lot, evidenced by the signings of Bolasie and Schneiderlin (whether you think them good enough or not), and Lukaku is smart enough to know that building a squad takes time. This was him softening the ground to leave in the summer.
Bernie: I don’t have a problem with players publicly questioning their club’s ambitions if it’s legitimate and honest. Lukaku might be correct but unfortunately he’s saying this to foreshadow a move away. Everton needed to make a bigger push in the market, they are a big club in England and with new ownership they have to get aggressive. Man City and Chelsea showed us that a good squad can be put together in one season if you are ambitious enough. Everton need to do the same, but it won’t be with Lukaku.
Mohaned: Of course he was right to do so. This is the right time to leave and he needed to let everyone know that he’s available. It’s a come get me. Everton are not his level anymore. He did well to choose them for this period of his career so he can continue to grow and show everyone that he has the output even when playing in this Everton side who are not in highest tiers of clubs.
Is he worth the alleged 70m transfer fee?
Rishay: At the age of 23 Lukaku has made appearances for both Belgium and Everton on a regular basis. He is one of the strongest strikers around and still hasn’t hit his prime. With the way transfer deals are done these days in terms of amortized payments, 70m is quite affordable to the big clubs – take a look at the Di Maria transfer from Madrid to Man United and Man United to PSG. With amortization taken into account, United actually made net profits on the transactions of Di Maria despite selling for a lower fee.
Bernie: As good as he is, it would be extremely problematic to pay 70m for him. His goals to games ratio is outstanding but players that demand that type of fee typically play at the highest level already. Lukaku is no longer a young potential signing like Martial was. He’s seen as starting to get into his prime and he’s not been tested at Champions League level so I don’t think he’s in that market unless he moves within the Premier League where moves amongst top clubs are prohibitively expensive.
Where will he go if he leaves Everton?
Mohaned: Manchester United could do with an Ibra replacement in a year’s time. So blood him in for a season before he takes over the main role? Chelsea if Costa leaves as rumoured. Arsenal obviously need him but they’ll never pay the money. Atleti, Dortmund, PSG etc. He can go anywhere. He’s good enough, he just needs the bid to come in, and it will.
How does he stack up compared to the best strikers like Aubameyang, Lewandowski, Suarez and Griezmann?
Alex: I don’t think Lukaku’s all-round game is anywhere close to Lewandowski, Suarez, Griezmann or even Kane who I absolutely think is amongst the best in Europe. I don’t think Lukaku contributes as much to a team if he isn’t scoring, which a striker must do these days. That said, guaranteed goals are guaranteed goals. I think making the step up and playing with better players will improve Lukaku, and as I said before, he’s still so young. His ceiling is very high.
Bernie: Look, I said on the pod that Aubameyang was the best striker in the world. I’ll own that mistake, I wasn’t thinking. However, he’s top tier with Zlatan, Lewandowski and Higuain with Griezmann and Suarez just ahead of them. Where does that leave Lukaku? Behind those guys with Harry Kane. As I said above they need to prove themselves on the biggest stage. Neither have yet.
Rishay: Lewa is a goal scoring addict, Aub is a speed demon, Griezmann is a complete striker who baffles expectations, and Suarez is an absolute tank. Lukaku is his own type of player, and perhaps the strongest of the lot. Not sure if he has the silkiness of Suarez but he definitely has the power. A few of these names are also older and well into their primes, while Lukaku hasn’t hit his yet, which is scary. Interestingly, I would actually consider him to be similar to Benzema, in a way.
Mohaned: In that they’re both chunky? First of all, Aub doesnt belong on that list. Second, Lukaku is 23. He’s barely learned the rules of football yet and he’s this effective. If he keeps his hunger and drive to learn and improve, I can see him reaching Drogba levels of stature easily. He’s a different player to the strikers we see out there today. Lewa is the closest in terms of style where they have plan A and plan B , the rest are all technical strikers. I think Lukaku is going to bring back the big-man style of strikers on the world stage. He won’t be pretty, which will harm his global persona, but he’ll be damn effective.
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