Eye On EPL

Loyalty is gone, this is business and Lukaku knows it

Why blame Romelu Lukaku for wanting to leave? This is an age-old tale of young and talented players leaving for bigger and greener pastures to play with the best teams in the world.

Everton sit seventh in the English Premier League, and are battling Arsenal, Manchester United and their Merseyside rivals Liverpool for a shot at Europe's biggest tournament, the Champions League.

Yes, it's true that the Toffees made Lukaku play in this phenomenal manner. He wasn't this prolific in his Chelsea days, where he only made 10 appearances and scored nothing.

Now he is the first Everton player since Bob Latchford to score 20 or more goals in all competitions for three consecutive seasons, and the first player to surpass 20 league goals in a season for Everton since Gary Lineker 31 years ago.

At 23 years of age, he is young and playing his best football. He is the perfect catch for the top EPL teams like Arsenal, as well as the two Manchester clubs, who will love to purchase a player familiar with English football.


Romelu Lukaku during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Hull City at Goodison Park in Liverpool on March 18, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

I don't think Everton can afford to pay him any longer. Earning a £140,000 per week is nothing compared to what the big clubs can offer.

It may not always be about being in a bigger club - though that is a huge consideration for a player - most players these days are looking to cash in on their performances .

We look at Wayne Rooney, who moved to United, Gareth Bale, who swopped Tottenham Hotspur's white jersey for that of Real Madrid, and form er Liverpool star Luis Suarez, who is a big name now at Barcelona.

I don't mean to say that Everton are a small club or have bad players. Everton are a club with a strong history, yet one can easily imagine Lukaku becoming one of the greatest strikers to ever play in the EPL, if he moves to one of the big clubs.

The future is limitless for Lukaku. But at the end of the day, the lifespan of a player's career is short. One injury and you will be out of the discussion.

I don't mean to say that Everton are a small club or have bad players. They are a club with a strong history, yet one can easily imagine Lukaku becoming one of the greatest strikers to ever play in the EPL, if he moves to one of the big clubs.

It is a win-win situation for both the club and the player. Lukaku will play for a bigger club as he wishes and Everton will also get money to rejuvenate their squad.

But the Belgian should be aware that playing for a bigger club means that there is a tough competition for a starting place. The pressure is on a whole different scale and every game is a do-or-die situation.

There is no question if he should leave or not, the only question is how many million will be offered for him and where he is going to go.

Gone were the days when players like Jamie Carragher or Gary Neville played for only one club. It is a pity but this is the21st-century culture.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2017, with the headline 'Loyalty is gone, this is business and Lukaku knows it'. Print Edition | Subscribe