Romelu Lukaku has been a revelation during the last few years of Premier League football. He has scored more goals than any player except Kun Agüero in the competition since 2012/13 and done what so many of us hoped he, or for the matter anybody, would – made Jose Mourinho look very foolish.
The 23-year-old is simply a phenomenon, and any supporter would want him in their side. But that being said, this is not an article about how vital it is Everton ward off those interested in his signature this summer.
In fact, the argument being presented is that the Toffees should be far more concerned about keeping another person at the club this summer: Ronald Koeman.
Actually, and let it be noted how dirty it feels to write or even consider this, Everton might even be better off without their star player. As brilliant as he is, the feeling persists that his presence demands Everton’s game gravitate towards him.
This is all well and good when he’s on form, and his quality is enough to ensure that they keep on the coattails of the top four, but could the club truly evolve into a title contender as they wish to with such a limiting focal point?
Lukaku has failed to score in 14 of the games he’s played for Everton this season, and they have won just four of them; perhaps it would be better to take an exorbitant fee and spend it on buying four or five players that could improve further an already exciting, young side?
That good spending and the development of any players it affords, of course, would only be guaranteed should Ronald Koeman remain in Liverpool.
The Dutchman has been linked with the national job in his home country following the departure of Danny Blind, and said last year
“Coaching Netherlands remains one of my ambitions. But I think every coach would like that. If I get the chance to coach Netherlands, I would like to take that chance.”
There are counter rumours that Koeman would, after all, reject any approach made by the Dutch FA, so encouraged he is said to be by the progress Everton have already made under his leadership.
Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan: “From my contacts with Ronald Koeman, he does not want to walk away from Everton at all.” pic.twitter.com/Y9MgbXDPBE
— Everton Blue Army (@EvertonBlueArmy) March 28, 2017
Fans at Goodison Park have been treated to increasingly improving displays of late, overcoming a dip in form after their glorious start to the season. Indeed, finishing in the top four as early as this season is improbable but not impossible.
This improvement further bolsters a managerial reputation that has grown hugely in recent years, following successful spells at Feyenoord and Southampton. The fact the former Barcelona player signed for Everton in the first place was quite the coup, and looks all the more impressive after his work so far this term.
As heartbreaking as losing Lukaku might be, especially for me personally should he join Manchester United or Chelsea, it could end up just a bump in Koeman and the club’s road to glory. Lose the manager, however, and all progress made could be undone.
Lukaku is obviously the Toffees top earner. But how does he compare to the highest paid players at other clubs?