DEBATE: Is Lukaku worth a world record fee?

Everton’s £90m asking price eclipses what Juventus spent on Gonzalo Higuain, the most for a striker.

Alam Khan and Matthew Jones
by Alam Khan and Matthew Jones
19th March 2017

article:19th March 2017

Romelu Lukaku has been in incredible over the last couple of seasons for Everton and currently leads the race for the Golden Boot in the Premier League.

Is he the real deal, though? Should a big club splash the cash to avail of his services?


Let us know your thoughts.

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ALAM KHAN, correspondent, says YES

When Gonzalo Higuain moved to Juventus for £75.3m, it seemed incredulous that someone who was more profligate than prolific for Real Madrid and Argentina, had become the world’s most expensive striker.

Impressing more, though, when leading the line at Napoli persuaded the Italian champions to splash out. And Higuain is a prime example of why Romelu Lukaku will be worth the large outlay when Everton are forced to sell this summer.

While clubs may be reluctant to top £60-70m, there is every chance he will surpass Higuain’s value and standing.

This is the current footballing market, the going rate for someone who has the potential to be a feared frontline force for years to come. Along with Pablo Dybala and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he will be sought-after because strikers can bring you success.

Powerful, pacy and proven in arguably the world’s toughest league. At 23, he has his best years ahead of him and, no disrespect to Everton, but with better players around him to create more opportunities he could soon have the repute to justify his fee.

The statistics so far are impressive enough. By his 21st birthday, Lukaku had 65 league goals, eight more than Lionel Messi and 21 more than Wayne Rooney. In the past four seasons he has 64 Premier League goals, bettered only by Sergio Aguero.

But in order to be the best, there’s no denying he needs Champions League football. That’s one of the reasons why there are doubts about his value. Another is why Chelsea let him go for £28m to Everton in 2014. His attitude and temperament have been questioned, but the Blues sold Kevin De Bruyne in similar fashion for a lower fee – and have seen him grow on the world stage.

With the right coaching and confidence, Lukaku has shown his class and now has the same desire to do even more.

Strikers are always risky buys.

But isn’t every player? Lukaku’s stock will only rise and he could well be a prize investment.

Matthew Jones, reporter, says NO

Romelu Lukaku’s phenomenal season proves he is turning into the sensational player his undoubted talent promised when Chelsea snapped him up as a 17-year-old from Anderlecht.

But measuring the gap between where he is now and becoming the world’s most expensive player – it’s still a chasm.

His 27 goals in 33 games in all competitions this season is outstanding. That boils down to 21 in 28 Premier League games but it’s less impressive when you consider the opposition. Only three have come against top-six teams.

Of the other 18, 16 have been against teams in the bottom half. Of his 81 Premier League goals in 177 games since arriving in England, just 18 have come against the genuine elite – 22 per cent. Hardly eye-watering.

As blistering as he’s been during stints with West Brom and Everton, there remains a doubt about his ability at the very top level. He failed to score a single goal in two seasons at Stamford Bridge, although admittedly he was never given a fair crack by Jose Mourinho, excelling during loan spells with the Baggies and Toffees.

He has certainly shown since departing he’s maturing into a lethal marksman. And now is definitely the time for a move to a club with a seat at football’s top table. But it remains to be seen whether he truly belongs at one of the biggest clubs, for such a fee.

Juventus parted with serious money to bring in Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli last summer, and while Lukaku boasts power and pace the Argentine has never had, the big Belgian possesses nowhere near the elite global status.

Speaking of the elite, the top 10 players to have once been the world’s most expensive footballer include Ronaldo (Brazil), Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Current incumbent Paul Pogba is finding it difficult to adjust to his new-found status, but he and his fellow record-breakers have all established themselves on the world stage.

Lukaku is some way shy of earning the right to belong in such esteemed company.


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