West Ham United have endured a number of failed centre-forward signings in the GSB era to date, with taking on that leading role having seemingly been something of a poisoned chalice over the last decade or so.
One man who could well have changed that narrative is Romelu Lukaku, with the prolific Belgian having reportedly been a target for the Hammers back in the summer of 2013, after enjoying a sparkling breakthrough campaign on loan at West Bromwich Albion the year prior where he scored 17 Premier League goals.
The Irons had reportedly been eyeing a temporary deal of their own to prise the imposing youngster from parent club Chelsea, having also suggested a possible permanent swoop to their London rivals, with the striker potentially available for a fee of around £20m.
As it proved, however, the Antwerp-born powerhouse ultimately secured a deadline day, loan switch to Everton, with then-Irons boss Sam Allardyce suggesting that he had “chased him all summer” in an attempt to bring the 6 foot 3 menace to east London – ultimately being forced to settle for the free transfer arrival of Carlton Cole and the £15m capture of former loanee Andy Carroll in that same window.
That failure to land the ruthless marksman – having also reportedly been interested in a permanent move two years later – has more than backfired as Lukaku has gone on to sparkle since then, proving a real nemesis to West Ham with 15 goal contributions in just 17 meetings to date.
After netting 87 goals in just 166 games during his time at Goodison Park, the former Anderlecht man would go on to secure a £75m move to Manchester United in 2017, eventually bagging 42 goals in 96 games in all competitions despite largely struggling to impress.
The 102-cap gem’s subsequent move to Inter Milan proved particularly fruitful as he scored 34 goals and 30 goals across all fronts in his first two seasons, respectively, before making that eye-watering £97.5m switch back to Stamford Bridge last summer.
While that homecoming ultimately proved underwhelming, the “unplayable” asset – as described by pundit Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – still managed a respectable tally of 15 goals in all competitions, having since made a return to Italy on loan.
The highest scorer in his nation’s history with 68 goals for the Red Devils to date, the 29-year-old has proven himself a truly clinical presence in front of goal over the past ten years, with his overall club career tally now standing at a remarkable 267 goals to date.
Lauded as the “number one” striker in the world by Brazilian icon Kaka last year, the £63m-rated ace has only gone from strength to strength since his early days at the Hawthorns, with GSB likely left ruing their failure to secure his services all those years ago.