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Lukaku’s move to Manchester is fully deserved

In a shocking turn of events, yesterday Romelu Lukaku has completed a move to Manchester United after months of speculation that he was on the verge of a move back to Chelsea. The Belgian comes to Old Trafford for £75m with £15m in add ons signing a 5 year deal, which has to make him as the main striker for the club going forward. He completed his medical over the weekend and then the deal was officially confirmed by the club a short while later. Chelsea matched the offer and terms of the deal offered to the Belgian by United, however, Chelsea weren’t willing to offer as much to Lukaku’s agent (and coincidentally Paul Pogba’s agent) Mino Raiola. The deal signed does include the option for a sixth year which further signifies that he will be staying in Manchester for a long time.

Romelu said it was ‘the opportunity of a lifetime and one that I couldn’t turn down’. Also, he confirmed what has been speculated on for a while now which is that Pogba had a ‘big role’ in him coming to the club. The pair had been training together in LA for a few days, with Romelu on holiday and Pogba on Man United’s tour there.

Everton make a huge profit on a player that really everyone knew would go on to bigger and better things, rather than stay at Goodison Park for the rest of his career. He spent the 2012-13 season on loan at WBA, then the following season on loan at Goodison, then completed a permanent move to Merseyside in the summer of 2014 for £28m, becoming the club’s then record signing. He hasn’t disappointed in an Everton shirt with the entire side revolving around his presence spearheading their attacks for the past 4 years. It comes as no surprise that a hefty profit has been made on his sale, but it wasn’t anticipated the fee would have been this large. £47m. Mourinho sold him to Everton when he was Chelsea boss, but it appears there is no hard feelings.

Romelu Lukaku started as a promising youngster at Anderlecht in 2009 when he was only 16 years old. Over 2 seasons in  the Belgian Pro League he netted 31 times in 70 appearances, hardly shabby for any striker let alone a teenager. He was a player that has always been physically superior to his peers, which meant he could play several years above his age group. As a child he always wanted to emulate his idol Didier Drogba, hence his love of Chelsea.

This excellent form with Anderlecht caught Chelsea’s eye so they swooped in for him. He cost the club £10m and signed a 5 year deal, which was a dream come true as he stated before that he wanted to become a Chelsea legend, much like Drogba. However, he couldn’t force his way into Andre Villas Boas’ plans due to the likes of Strurridge, Drogba and Torres. Due to the fact that he wasn’t playing, Lukaku didn’t even lift the Champions League trophy as he didn’t feel like he was a winner. This meant he was on the fringes all season, but he wasn’t prepared for a repeat of it the following season.

He pushed for a loan move to a fellow Premier League club in order to prove his worth in the league. As a result he ended up moving to the Hawthorns despite previous reports of a move to Fulham, which would undoubtedly have been easier purely due to the location. Lukaku endeared himself with the WBA faithful instantly with the 3rd goal in a 3-0 rout at home to Liverpool, although it was Gera’s goal that stole the headlines. His first showing at the Hawthorns was full of tenacity, pace and power. A chant was soon made for him ‘he comes from Stamford Bridge and he’s bigger than a fridge, Lukaku, woah, Lukaku, woah’. His next league goal came in the home win against Reading to earn the club another 3 points, great start. Another notable goal is the one at Anfield that sealed a memorable 3 points. The Belgian scored a further 14 goals to the others aforementioned.

Lukaku proved to be so influential that the club haven’t surpassed the height of the 2012-13 finishing 8th with 49 points. As a result, he is best player I have seen in an Albion shirt. Older Baggies would point to Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Tony Brown but they are all before my time. Lukaku is the club’s most prolific striker in a single PL season, and it doesn’t seem that record will be topped in the foreseeable future. Odemwingie was left out as the best he scored was 15 in a single season, although overall he has scored (due to length of his stay at the club) more than the Belgian.

He scored so many goals that despite the fact a loan is meant to be for the reason you won’t improve your parent club’s side just yet, he outscored all of his Chelsea teammates, with the closest as Frank Lampard who netted 15 times. As a result, it was justifiable to assume that he would go marching in to the Chelsea eleven the following season but it wasn’t to be. Chelsea decided to send him out on loan again after only a couple of games for Chelsea at the start of the season. If you remember he didn’t exactly impress Jose after he missed the deciding penalty which gifted the Supercup to Bayern Munich.

As he had a rapport with Albion, they were the favourites to re-sign him but he ultimately plumped for Everton. Everton were obviously a step up from Albion which is another sign he had determination to improve with the end game in mind of becoming a Chelsea legend. He couldn’t quite match his tally of the previous season but 15 goals isn’t a bad return. His performance in the Mereseyside derby at Goodison in that season was sensational, scoring twice in the stunning game that ended 3-3.

Roberto Martinez built how the team played around Lukaku despite him only being on loan. Naismith or Barkley in the number 10 role provided plenty of service either via through balls or moving off the ball to create enough space for the striker to do what he does best, score. Whilst his hold up play left a lot to be desired (and still does to this day) the goals he scored in crucial games more than made up for it. Everton’s season finished with them in 5th place with 72 points, which is often the requisite amount of points to qualify for the Champions League.

On the back of this outstanding season, Roberto Martinez thought it was of the utmost importance to bring Lukaku back to Goodison Park. It was quite clear from Chelsea’s perspective that they had another forward who would lead their line instead of Lukaku, Diego Costa. This left Lukaku with no other choice, since he wanted first team football, but to leave and it went without question that Everton were the firm favourites. The only genuine stumbling block with regards to the transfer would be if Bill Kenwright was willing to spend enough cash to bring him in. £30m was the kind of money asked for by Chelsea, but since it was abundantly clear to the club that he was so vital to their success the money was forked out.

Mourinho said on selling Lukaku, ‘he wanted to play for Chelsea but he clearly wanted to be first choice striker but for a club of our dimension it is very difficult to promise to a player’.

The transfer was complete in July 2014 with a fee of £28m which was then a club record fee, and the player signed a 5 year deal. Over the next 3 seasons he netted 53 times in 110 appearances in the league, although Everton slipped down the table in the seasons finishing 11th twice (costing Martinez his job) and 7th last season under Koeman. Due to these league positions, he believed he had to move away to realise his dream of playing in the Champions League. As a result, he upset many Everton fans last season by rejecting their most lucrative contract ever which was reported to be £140,000 a week. In addition he didn’t think that Everton had enough ambition and resources to propel themselves into the Champions League.

He does have a point, the best they’ve finished is 5th and they don’t look like a team that could break into the top four at time soon. Critics would say why doesn’t he stay at Everton and guide them to the Champions League to prove how good he is. However, Alexis Sanchez couldn’t secure 4th place for Arsenal this year. Does that make him not worthy of playing in the Champions League this coming season? If Sanchez was that keen to play in the competition then he would force a move out, which remains to be seen.

Romelu is indisputably good enough to play for a club that is vying for the Premier League title, why else would Chelsea and Manchester United be willing to pay that kind of money for him. The attitude problem is there on occasions where he argues with team mates, but it isn’t like he throws his toys out of the pram week in and week out. In the game at Old Trafford earlier on this year, he did put his finger to his lips when Ashley Williams was shouting at him. It is disrespectful, but he did know that he could play at a better club. Is he really going to do that at Michael Carrick or his mate Pogba, don’t think so. Mourinho wouldn’t tolerate it.

That young kid from Antwerp was always destined for big things in the game, but he has taken the long route by plying his trade at lower clubs, albeit in the Premier League since switching to Chelsea. Let’s not forget he could have easily run down his contract with Chelsea and pick up his money after doing training, he would have been financially fine. It certainly isn’t the case he has been strapped for cash, but that isn’t the point. He made a name for himself by outshining the rest at Everton and West Brom, which has finally been rewarded with a place in the Champions League.

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