Everton have confirmed the sale of winger Ademola Lookman to Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.
The forward was seen at the Leipzig airport earlier this week flying in for the medical before the announcement this morning. No details of the fee have been given but the German outfit are believed to have paid in the region of £22.5 million (about €25m), including £16m guaranteed.
He becomes the second major permanent departure this summer following Nikola Vlasic’s £15m move to CSKA Moscow.
The move brings to an end a frustrating two-and-a-half year spell on Merseyside for Lookman, who joined from Charlton for around £11m in January 2017. He made a flying start to his Toffees career, scoring with seconds of coming on for his debut in the 4-0 win against Manchester City.
That perhaps proved a curse as much as a blessing as it instantly raised expectations on the youngster’s shoulders. He clearly had talent, but struggled to demonstrate it on a consistent basis and found himself in and out of the side for the remainder of the season.
Like many young players, Lookman was then a victim of the turbulence caused by Everton’s miserable 2017-18 campaign.
He didn’t start a league game under Ronald Koeman before being recalled by David Unsworth for his difficult spell in caretaker charge following the Dutchman’s sacking. He soon found himself jettisoned back to the U23s again when Sam Allardyce arrived and was sent out on loan to Leipzig in January 2018.
Lookman enjoyed his time out on loan, scoring five goals in 11 appearances, and the German side were determined to sign him last summer. Everton resisted, though, with new manager Marco Silva determined to keep hold of Lookman and give him the chance to break into the first-team.
It never really happened.
He only made his first league start of the season against Newcastle in December and would start just six matches all season. Clearly there was something Silva was seeing - or not seeing - in training that meant he wasn’t willing to give Lookman more of an opportunity.
When Leipzig showed renewed interest this summer it always looked like a move was on. With Everton also pursing another forward player Lookman’s first-team chances were only going to decrease further. With Marcel Brands also looking to lighten the wage bill of squad players, £22.5m for someone who barely featured last year is good value.
We may yet see Lookman go on and succeed elsewhere so I hope Everton have added a layer of protection by including sell-on clauses in the deal.
However, it became increasingly obvious that Lookman was never going to fulfil his potential in an Everton shirt so a move is the best thing for all parties.
Good luck, Ademola!