Signing a player for £28 million is a considerable juxtaposition from Everton’s usual conduct in the transfer market, but they could have already got themselves a bargain. Breaking the bank to sign Lukaku from Chelsea has already paid dividends, with the strong Belgian striker adapting to life as a permanent fixture at Goodison Park like a duck to water.
Endearing himself to fans during last season’s excellent loan spell was enough to convince Roberto Martinez that Lukaku should be the man to spearhead Everton’s forward line in the present and long-term future.
Although the Toffees haven’t enjoyed the best of starts to the 2014/2015 Premier League season, Lukaku already looks at home as Everton’s main striker. Martinez will be highly encouraged by the wonderful partnership the 21-year-old Belgian has formed with Steven Naismith; the little and large combination fits perfectly into Everton’s style of play, although Lukaku has much more to his game than being a mere target man. Wonderfully taken goals against West Brom and Crystal Palace – the first being a fantastic 25-yard curling shot with his weaker right foot – shows he has enough attributes early in his career to make a real difference for Everton. His first touch and ability to hold the ball up may need to be worked on, but these qualities will only come on with time on the training ground and through regular first-team football.
What does the future hold?
Placing considerable expectation on a 21-year-old’s shoulders to deliver around 15 to 20 goals this season may be asking too much, but Lukaku has already demonstrated that he has the quality to produce the goods. Excellent loan spells at West Brom and Everton generated 32 Premier League goals which represent a promising return for a striker with the potential to become something special. Everton’s gain could turn out to be Chelsea’s loss; it was always likely to require a considerable transfer fee to encourage Jose Mourinho to sell a player that appeared to be the heir apparent to Didier Drogba, but Martinez has bagged a gem if Lukaku fulfils his rich potential.
Upcoming league games against Aston Villa, Burnley and Swansea provide a wonderful opportunity for Lukaku to continue his progression as a regular Premier League striker. Martinez may demand more from his young prodigy who is still learning his trade in the top flight, but the early season link-up between Lukaku and Naismith is undoubtedly Everton’s biggest plus. Reaching double figures will be the bare minimum expected of the Belgian international who enjoyed an excellent World Cup campaign in Brazil, but Lukaku has settled nicely into life as a permanent Toffee.