Everton have had a questionable record in the transfer market in recent years, but director of football Marcel Brands has struck gold on a couple of occasions.
Back in January 2017, the Toffees splashed out £11m to bring in a largely unknown 19-year-old Ademola Lookman from Championship outfit Charlton Athletic.
The pacey winger had made just 49 appearances for his boyhood club when Everton came calling, illustrating the level of risk Brands was taking in sanctioning his signing.
“It feels great to be an Everton player. As soon as I heard about Everton’s interest I knew this would be the right place for me,” Lookman said at his unveiling.
“Everton has a big history, and I was also attracted by the manager. When you look at what he did at Southampton, and what he does with young players in terms of developing them, that was a big attraction.
“It was great playing in the Championship last season and for the last six months in League One, but I feel like I’m ready to make the step up to the Premier League,” he concluded.
However, things didn’t go to plan for Lookman on Merseyside. The youngster made just four Premier League starts over the following 12 months, finding the back of the net on one occasion before being sent out on loan to RB Leipzig.
Lookman faired much better in Germany, though, bagging five goals and providing four assists in just 11 Bundesliga outings for the Red Bulls, prompting Everton to give him another chance at Goodison Park.
Much was expected of the former England U21 international at the start of the 2018/19 campaign due to his impressive exploits across the continent, but he once again found his playing time restricted upon his return to his homeland.
The versatile forward was awarded just 601 minutes of action throughout the entire season as he came off the bench 18 times in the top-flight, leading to growing frustrations.
Nevertheless, that didn’t stop Leipzig from returning for Lookman the following summer and ended his nightmare spell at Everton by securing a £22.5m deal for the attacker despite his limited game time.
And it’s a deal that’s looked better and better for Everton and Brands ever since. Lookman has scored just five goals and laid on four assists throughout spells with Leipzig, Fulham and Leicester City since the start of 2019/20 as he’s struggled to fulfill his potential.
While at 24, there’s certainly time for him to do just that, it appears the Blues’ hierarchy did well to double their money on a player who is yet to justify such a hefty price tag.