Lukaku Coup Caps off Constructive Transfer Period at Everton
Rather quietly, Everton put together a constructive final day of the transfer period and can go into the rest of the season feeling good about the way they conducted themselves in the market.
Not only did the Liverpool club keep hold of Leighton Baines, but they also held Manchester United to ransom for Marouane Fellaini, acquired James McCarthy from Wigan and signed Gareth Barry on loan from Manchester City.
FIVE DEALS CONFIRMED: McCarthy, Lukaku and Barry arrive, while Fellaini and Anichebe depart. http://t.co/fsNaHV7qyA— Official Everton (@Everton) September 2, 2013
The additions added to a squad already bolstered by new manager Roberto Martinez, who had brought in Arouna Kone, Antolin Alcaraz and Joel Robles from former club Wigan in July and secured Barcelona forward Gerard Deulofeu on loan as well.
But perhaps the Spaniard’s biggest coup was the loan signing of Romelu Lukaku—a piece of business that was only finalized four hours before Monday’s deadline.
“It was a crazy evening,” Lukaku told reporters from his hotel in Belgium, where he was training with his countrymen ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier in Scotland when he got the news. “It was 7:00 p.m. and that was the first I knew of it.” (Daily Mail)
Incidentally, the 20-year-old had been sharing a room with Kevin Mirallas, who joined the Toffees from Olympiacos just over a year ago.
“We talked about [the loan move] and I am looking forward to playing,” Lukaku remarked, admitting that his international teammate had played some part in convincing him to select Everton over West Bromwich Albion, who had also come in for his signature.
“I decided that Everton was the best choice,” he said, adding, “The important thing, at 20, is to be playing, and while West Brom was an option Everton was a better one.”
And as much as they loved him at The Hawthorns during his nine months on loan last season, the Goodison Park faithful will likely love him even more. Whether in Belgium, where he came through with Anderlecht, or at West Brom, Lukaku has increased his production in each of his three full years in professional football.
Last season, in fact, his ratio of a goal every 117 minutes was more than half-an-hour better than that of Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, another Belgian. And with the likes of Leon Osman and McCarthy providing service and Mirallas and Steven Pienaar offering layoffs and one-two combinations from out wide, his stats will only improve on what he accomplished with the Baggies.
Of course, there are elements of his game Lukaku will be working on while at Everton—elements that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho hopes he brings back to Stamford Bridge in the spring.
A multi-faceted goalscorer who can put the ball in the net with either foot and any part of his body, Lukaku is nevertheless not particularly adept at holding up play, and with Mourinho’s teams often reliant on a lone centre-forward to slow things down and involve forward-moving teammates, it’s a trait he’ll be hoping to add to his arsenal over the next few months.
But for now, his thoughts are with Everton.
“Different clubs called me and I had to take the right decision,” he said. (Daily Mail)
“Roberto Martinez called me for 30 minutes and explained what he expects from me.”
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