There is no doubting the talent Romelu Lukaku has at his disposal and the fact that he has been Everton’s talisman over the past three seasons. But Ronald Koeman’s comments earlier in the week would have certainly raised eyebrows, with the Dutchman being quoted as saying that “his potential is greater and higher than Everton as a final destination” and many will now wonder the long term future of Lukaku at Goodison.
But will these comments go on to help or hinder Lukaku over the coming months? On the one hand, it could inspire Everton’s star striker to perform better for the club but on the other, the weight of expectation could put added pressure on the 23-year-old forward. The situation now seems to be that if he doesn’t score he doesn’t get the big move.
Lukaku, like the rest of his Everton teammates, were mere passengers during their visit to Stamford Bridge when Chelsea ran out 5-0 winners. That was a miserable return to west London for Lukaku and a rare off day in a season which has seen him already find the net seven times in nine Premier League starts.
His early season form on the whole has been impressive and if he were to continue scoring at that rate, then he will have scored more than 25 times this season and that would surely reignite interest from a whole host of Europe’s top clubs.
Although there was a flurry of interest in the summer there was never really a concrete bid to prise Everton’s star asset away from Merseyside and Everton fans no doubt breathed a sigh of relief when the transfer window slammed shut. But is there now a sense that we are seeing the beginning of the end of his time at the club?
Well, Koeman with those comments seems to think so. You do have to question the rationale behind what he has said though, as these are the kind of things that are said behind closed doors rather than uttered in public.
In effect, the Dutchman is now implying that Lukaku is now for sale albeit at the right price. The only logical conclusion I can think of is perhaps Koeman feels his star striker has such the ego that he needed to speak publicly to truly motivate him.
Or maybe this is gamesmanship from the manager. Perhaps the scenario is that Lukaku has already told Koeman he wants to leave and nothing will stop him, with Koeman reluctantly agreeing. Therefore Koeman is trying to maximise his profitability and performance before he leaves, by making sure he gets the former Chelsea forward playing to the absolute best of his ability.
This could very well be due to the fact that the transfer war-chest that was promised by new majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri never really materialised during the summer. Therefore, a sale of Lukaku at his maximum value would then enable Everton to go out and make some more additions to their squad. If they want new faces at the club, then it looks like the crown jewel may have to be sold to fund a spending spree.
It’s almost a double edged sword now for Everton; if Lukaku scores a decent amount of goals then there is no question that he leaves next summer. But if he doesn’t, the results will more than probably dry up. Koeman is playing a risky game here and only over the next months will we know if the risk has paid off.
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