Everton star Romelu Lukaku is expected to complete a move away from Goodison Park this summer, so Toffee fans are expectedly curious about who will replace the Belgian.
A player like Lukaku is going to leave big shoes to fill and although he may not be a well-known name to English fans, Cyle Larin may be the best option.
The 22-year old Canadian striker is currently in his third professional season for MLS side Orlando City. In 76 career games, Larin has scored 40 goals for the Lions and was named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2015.
Larin was linked with a move to Everton in the build up to the current MLS season, but the talk has quieted down as the season has started. The rumours are sure to pick up once Lukaku completes his move away, as Larin hasn’t slowed down, scoring eight goals in 15 league appearances this season.
Lukaku and Larin are barely an inch apart in height and play very similar styles, so the Canadian could be a perfect fit for Ronald Koeman’s system.
Playing alongside former Ballon d’Or winner Kaka has helped the 22-year old develop into one of the best strikers in MLS, a league whose quality has vastly risen within the past five years. It is still a far cry from the Premier League, but Larin’s physicality would likely make his transition easier. Playing around more high-quality players should only improve Larin’s play as scoring chances increase.
The striker is widely considered the best player Canada has produced in a long time and already has 20 caps and five goals for the senior team. The 22-year-old has become the focal point of the national team and will be hoping to lead the Canucks to the 2022 World Cup after failing to qualify for Russia.
Lukaku is clearly the more talented player so Larin can’t replace the Belgian’s 25 league goals all on his own, but Ronald Koeman has a history of getting the most out of his players, especially under-23s. The Dutchman impressed during his time at Southampton by bringing through players like Sadio Mane, Nathaniel Clyne and James Ward-Prowse, and he continued that success this season with seventh placed Everton.
Larin drew Premier League and Bundesliga interest before deciding to play in MLS, and after spending a few years developing, this summer could be a great opportunity for the striker to finally make the jump to Europe.
It would be difficult for any club to replace a player like Romelu Lukaku, but Larin could be a perfect replacement if he is willing to take the chance.