Last week, Everton announced the signing of Ademola Lookman from Charlton for £11m, a deal that makes him the most expensive player from League One. Usually when a player moves from that division at this time of year they are then loaned back to their former club to make sure they are still getting much-needed minutes on the pitch.
It was a strategy that worked out well for Tottenham with Dele Alli, with the Lilywhites now reaping the rewards after his extended stay at MK Dons back in 2015, but Ronald Koeman has decided that the 19-year-old is good enough to join the first-team squad on Merseyside straight away.
So what exactly are Everton getting for their money? Well, they are certainly getting a lot of promise, as is the case with any player who is signed at that age, but it’s not just the bags of potential that the youngster will bring, it’s the raw talent he has at his disposal now.
— Everton (@Everton) January 5, 2017
It was only last season that the England U-19 international was thrust into first-team football at The Valley and although Charlton were eventually to be relegated, Lookman managed to find the net five times after making 24 appearances.
For a youngster to be producing a goal ratio of one in five in a debut Championship season is certainly something that should not be overlooked, especially when he doesn’t play as a central striker.
With the south London side dropping into League One, it was a case of when, not if, Charlton would cash in on their asset. After interest from a number of clubs in the summer, Lookman’s form has shown no real signs of let up and, although at a lower level, he managed to score five times in 21 appearances before his big money move to Merseyside.
And it’s a move that will excite many Everton fans, as lots felt they didn’t quite add the right personnel in the summer when current boss Ronald Koeman took charge, especially as there was a supposed ‘transfer war chest’ available to be spent by the Dutchman.
Those funds are certainly being spent now and someone of the likes of Lookman was almost a necessity. With Everton arguably too reliant on Romelu Lukaku and his support cast not quite up to scratch, they required an additional source of impetus in attack.
It’s not only that, as the versatility of Lookman will provide a massive boost to the squad, especially with the news that one of Everton’s few summer signings Yannick Bolasie could now be ruled out for the entirety of 2017 after suffering a serious cruciate ligament injury in December.
Like with any youngster, there is a fine balancing act as to adhere to when giving him the spotlight. Yet, given Koeman’s work on the south coast with the young talent at Southampton, you would be confident that the former Barcelona defender will manage his game time accordingly.
And it’s Koeman’s track record with youngsters that makes these two the perfect fit and Everton almost the perfect club for his development. You get the feeling that had he signed for any of the top six teams in the division then his route to the first-team would have a lot more roadblocks along the way, which could, in turn, stunt his already impressive development.
With so much hype surrounding the signing of Lookman there will undoubtedly be a clamour for him to be chucked in at the deep end and make his Premier League bow sooner rather than later. The fact that he has been drafted straight into the first-team squad shows that there is certainly a purpose to his signing and that purpose is to see him unleashed on the defences in the top flight.
The future looks bright for Everton, but perhaps the future is now.
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