Look Before You Leap
Ademola Lookman wants to leave Everton FC permanently, here’s why that can’t be permitted to happen.
Everton’s season has officially begun and every player in the first-team squad, other than those who have taken part in the World Cup of course, has reported back to Finch Farm for pre-season training. The good, the bad and the rotten, they’re all back and getting themselves acquainted with our new manager and his coaching team as preparations for 18/19 begin.
Most of the players will be eager to get started with this new chapter at the club though some others will be simply saying their goodbyes as they prepare to leave for pastures new. There is a small group in the squad though who are likely to have no certainty at all about where they’ll be playing their football next season, or what direction their career’s are even heading in quite frankly.
Ademola Lookman, case in point, is one of those players whose future looks to be completely up in the air. Although rated by most supporters and also admired by Marcel Brands, he looks to have made his mind up that Everton Football Club is not where he wants to be going forward. It really is a crying shame for a player whom came to the club with an exciting reputation and scored such an enjoyable goal on his debut. Unfortunately, since that wonderful day against Manchester City, the Londoner hasn’t had the most enjoyable of experiences on Merseyside.
The club is now on it’s fourth manager, interim or otherwise, since Lookman arrived. He’s actually started only six games in all competitions for first team since in all the time he’s been here despite never having any real injury layoffs. Appearances off the bench have also never seemed to be anything more than the occasional cameo, which only stretch to 10 minutes or so at best.
Rumours of homesickness have been rife as well with the player living on his own out of the Titanic Hotel in the initial months after his arrival. Ronald Koeman, and later Sam Allardyce, clearly made no attempt at all at the arm-around-the-shoulder approach with him (or any other player for that matter). For a young lad, who by his own admission is single and career-driven but also away from his family for the first time, it’s bound to have been a very difficult experience made all the worse by the lack of clarity over his role.
When all that is taken into consideration, along with the fact that’s he’s not on big money and never has been, it’s hard to really blame Everton’s no.31 for feeling this is not an environment where he can feel happy and get the best out of himself. Lookman has been let down badly by the club’s management and had every right to force through his move away to Germany last January to escape the chaos that was occuring in the walls of Goodison at the time.
When the ex-Charlton man baulked at Big Sam’s brainwave to send him out to the Championship he proved that, behind his softly-spoken demeanour, there is a steely determination and ambition to reach the highest levels of the game. The Count of Monte Bistro seemed flabbergasted explaining Lookman’s decision in choosing to go to Bundesliga over the bacon and beans available in Derby but it was undoubtedly the correct choice. Much more can be learnt trying to force your way into a side that was chasing a Champions League place rather than being kicked around by yard dogs in one of the most physical leagues in the world.
Whilst at RB Leipzig the youngster won many more admirers and enjoyed some fantastic performances, ending overall on five goals and three assists in eleven games. Their manager, Ralf Rangnick, has spoken to the German press about wanting him to bring back and is obviously trying to up the pressure by declaring that the player himself is eager on a return as well. This will be in order to force Everton to the table because, after two failed bids, the German club will have realised that the Blues aren’t simply interested in doing a deal. Their hope will be that Rangnick’s comments cause for Lookman to matters into his own hands and now push for a move himself more rigorously. Even if this tactic indeed works and the player starts to become a disruptive presence around Finch Farm, which I honestly don’t foresee personally, the club really should stand firm and refuse to sell.
Very few English 20 year-olds have the talent, work-ethic and ambition that this young man clearly has in spades. Hardly any Everton players over the last two decades have put in a display in European competition as impressive he did away Cyprus in the dead rubber against Apollon Limassol. Not many people have the cojones to come off the bench at Anfield, absolutely boss it and set up a brilliant equaliser which sent Evertonians memorably into raptures. Even less folk can ever boast about humiliating Pep Guardiola by lashing in a goal through his favourite goalkeeper’s legs to complete a famous rout. In Lookman we have a player with plenty of pace, intelligence and dribbling ability, all of which we will have plenty of use for going forwards with this new Everton.
Marco Silva is expected to set up the team using a 4-3-3 formation, with a central striker flanked by two wide forwards. Theo Walcott is an obvious choice on one side, Lookman can absolutely be the man on the other. Bolasie is very possibly going to leave the club, there’s no guarantee that any new wide players will be brought in this summer and the likes of Sigurdsson and Dowell are much effective when played through the centre of the park.
It is undeniable that there’s been times when the lad definitely hasn’t impressed. There were games in which he played last season, and the one before, where he was anonymous on the pitch or made silly mistakes in possession.
Still, having said that, Lookman was signed as an investment for the future of which that Everton would be very foolish change their minds on now. If the winger is highly sought-after at this moment then just imagine what the Toffees could demand for his services in 3 or 4 year’s time if by then he has developed at the rate many believe he will.
Lookman deserves to be handed a fresh start with the new management team and to be made promises that this time around are kept. He has aspirations that many in the club claim to share but haven’t, as of yet, demonstrated. Hopefully one day soon Everton will have returned to the highest echelons of English football and no player will even want to leave us. It’s certainly a nice thought isn’t it? Let’s hope Ademola is can be persuaded to think that way too.