Romelu Lukaku finds himself in a tricky situation right now. He left Everton in the summer of 2017 to join Jose Mourinho looking to make Manchester United worldbeaters again. Yet here we are two seasons later and one of the largest clubs in the world is in some disarray, having appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer their permanent manager (somewhat rashly) while not necessarily having too much strategic direction for where the club is headed and what they need to do in the transfer market.
The Belgian striker has been made one of the scapegoats of the Red Devils’ consecutive underwhelming seasons, despite scoring 42 goals in all competitions over those two years. His lackadaisical attitude on-pitch is one of the factors to blame, and something that has hounded him since his time on Merseyside.
Transfer gossip has it that Inter Milan in Italy, having appointed Antonio Conte as their new manager, are interested in making a statement signing and that Lukaku might be it. How that will work when they already have a resident prima donna in Mauro Icardi is anyone’s guess, but even Conte at his ‘spitting blood’ best will have a hard time handling two divas and their accompanying entourages.
Which brings us back to Everton. The Blues have struggled in front of goal in the last two seasons since Lukaku’s departure, the previous season was worse than last after Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson upped their tallies to 13 each in Marco Silva’s first year in charge.
Lukaku’s 12 Premier League goals last season in 32 appearances was more than Dominic Calvert-Lewin (6 in 35), Cenk Tosun (3 in 25) and Oumar Niasse (0 in 6) put together.
There is no doubting that right now Lukaku is a better striker than Calvert-Lewin. DCL might still turn out good as it’s still early in his development cycle, but Everton need a forward capable of scoring a dozen goals now if they are to break into the top six this season or the next.
However, there are some caveats. Marcel Brands and Marco Silva are looking to build a united squad where there is no diva mentality, and everyone plays selflessly for the team. Lukaku is not that kind of player or personality. His long periods of standing around will not work with Silva’s gameplan that often demands all the players press forward to win the ball.
Then again, how do you pass up on a pure goalscorer that in just four years has become Everton’s highest scorer in the Premier League era? There’s also the matter of what kind of transfer fee and wages he would command this summer. As big a club as they once were, Inter cannot hope to match the £180,000 per week he is currently making. For that matter, Everton will not offer him that either, with Bernard and Yerry Mina the current top earners at £120,000/week. At 26, the Belgian striker is going to be looking for at least one more big contract payday and that simply does not align with what Moshiri’s latest version of Everton have in mind.
One feels that too much water has passed under the bridge since Lukaku left the Toffees for there to be a real route back. The manner of his exit when he teased that he would sign a new deal, then didn’t, the things said about the Blues by his father, his family and the rest of the yes-men that surround him, all of which combined to create some animosity that might be just too much to be forgotten easily.
It’s probably for the better that Everton stay out of any Lukaku transfer conversations.