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Lukaku – A Statement of Intent!

by   |   27/07/2014  Comments (38)  jump

The potential Lukaku signing got me thinking about the previous highly sought-after acquisitions Everton have made during my time as an Evertonian.

I don’t mean purchases that turned out to be diamonds in the rough at the time of signing like Andy Gray, Peter Reid, Tim Cahill, and even Mikel Arteta.

Nor great players who transferred to Everton after their peak with another club like Peter Beardsley, Andrei Kanchelskis or Paul Gasgoine. What I’m talking about are those players that any club would have in their side given the chance at the time of signing.

In my opinion Lukaku, at 21, is such a player.

My nominations over the decades since the 1960s would be Tony Kay and Alan Ball in the 1960’s, Bob Latchford and Martin Dobson in the 70’s, Gary Lineker and Trevor Steven in the 80’s, Slaven Bilic in the 90’s and Marouane Fellaini in the 2000’s.

I’m struggling somewhat to find standouts in the 1990’s and 2000’s, but would be interested to hear who fellow ToffeeWebbers would condsider equivalent purchases of this magnitude and potential impact over our recent history.

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Reader Comments (38)

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Matt Traynor
1 Posted 27/07/2014 at 07:16:51
I wouldn't describe Kanchelskis as past his peak when we signed him - he was very much in his peak. Unfortunately off-the-field influences meant his stellar first season was probably the best of his career, and we eventually got rid mid way through his 2nd season after a series of dis-interested, almost sabotaging performances.

Beardsley was 30 when we signed him, but I remember buying the Echo on my way back into the office and it had the desired effect - wound the Kopites up no-end. They didn't want to sell him, least of all to us, and thought ٟm was a steal. The fact we were able to sell him on to Newcastle 2 years later at a profit bears that out.

For me the signings that used to get me excited where the ones where they'd turned down offers from other big clubs to come to Everton - that was a sign that we were at or around the top table. Ian Snodin springs to mind, even Tony Cottee - but then for different reasons both turned out to not be that "missing piece", etc.

Terence Leong
2 Posted 27/07/2014 at 09:05:04
Beardsley was still very much in his prime, not as a striker, but as a midfielder.

I believe that Kendall (or someone) later regretted that we sold him too soon, as he was still producing the goods for Newcastle up till 36 years old.

Gary Speed was another. We sold Bilic (though he wasnÂ’t performing for us), Dacourt and Materazzi too soon.

Shane Corcoran
3 Posted 27/07/2014 at 09:16:17
Looks like there's a major bug going around toffeeweb. Only one previous post showing on my screen even though I saw many more this morning.

I'm surprised RM has spoken so openly about his pursuit of Lukakus given that he said he wouldn't talk about other clubs' players and all that went with Moyes's pursuit of Baines and Fellaini.

Still, he'd be a great one to get.

Paul Ellam
4 Posted 27/07/2014 at 10:00:02
Yakubu was a player at his peak I believe when we got him for roughly 㾸 million.
I also believe we MUST get Lukaku now after the "Martinez incident" or we will lose face.
Either we (the club) know for a fact we are getting him or it could turn out to be a propaganda disaster!

Kevin Tully
5 Posted 27/07/2014 at 09:57:52
I mentioned this a while back Steve - the last stellar signing we made was probably Tony Cottee in 1988 for what was then a record fee for a British player. (Gazza was certainly a Stella signing!)

Lukaku would have to go into the Fellaini category I suppose. Young, not quite established as a player courted by the 'bigger' clubs in the division, but can definitely become a superstar.

Hopefully Roberto's attacking philosophy can attract the bigger names as we re-establish our reputation as the 'school of science.'

Obviously big salaries on offer make a massive difference, but we do offer reasonable wages on a par with Spurs and some Arsenal players.

The last fella use to make the players puke in pre-season training, so hopefully other top players will now view us as an attractive destination.

Ernie Baywood
6 Posted 27/07/2014 at 10:48:28
It's a tough one. Maybe Gary Speed fits the billing.

Kanchelskis is probably the only one where you thought "Wow". Was kind of nice to buy the paper and see headlines instead of the drawn out deals played out on the net nowadays.

Was going to mention Bakayoko too.

I had no idea who Fellaini was.

Ian Bennett
7 Posted 27/07/2014 at 10:58:39
Carl Tiler for me. A statement it was going to be a relegation battle.
Patrick Murphy
8 Posted 27/07/2014 at 11:05:04
Trevor Steven and to a lesser extent Adrian Heath's arrivals were the sign that Everton were heading in the right direction - both young and wanted or admired by other clubs but Everton pushed the boat out and persuaded both to sign for the club at a time when we weren't too attractive. Both players had a tough time to begin with but managed to stake a claim to become first team regulars and sometimes the impact of those two is overshadowed by the likes of Southall, Ratcliffe, Reid, Gray and Sheedy. My word that is seven top players just off the top of my head, that was indeed a fine time to be an Evertonian. But it didn't happen overnight it took a manager with a vision and who recognised the characters and skill-set of those players to blend them into an awesome force.
Mark Taylor
9 Posted 27/07/2014 at 10:59:22
You're talking marquee signings here and I'm afraid there haven't been that many in Everton's recent history. If you're talking about a player who pretty much any club in theory would have coveted because the player was already very good but still approaching their prime, I'd say there have been three: Ball in the 60's, Latchford in the 70's and Lineker in the 80's. Maybe you could add Cottee to that but I don't think his impact on the game was quite at the level of those three. I don't know why the OP mentions Trevor Steven- he was a relative unknown when we signed him.

Personally I struggle with anybody who could fit into the category of marquee signing in the 90's and 00's. Maybe Yakubu but again, he wasn't really at the same level as the big three.

Neither could Fellaini be placed in this class. Young and with a lot of potential, for sure, but not a marquee signing. I'm afarid I wouldn't place Lukaku in that category either. Personally I think he is a bit overrated anyway, but it is pretty obvious that none of the top clubs fancy him, here or abroad, otherwise he could have his dream of CL football. So not even close to a Lineker who was a major coup when we signed him.

Actually I think we had lost the means to be in the market for marquee signings by the 90's. That is why the OP is struggling to find the names and why we don't even pretend to participate at that level today.

On an optimistic note, when you look at the 84-85 team, that was built on a relative shoestring. The players who became household names were anything but, when we were struggling to beat lower league teams like Oxford. So it is possible (or at least, it was) to build a winning side with any seriously major signings, so I guess that is our best hope for today.

Mark Tanton
10 Posted 27/07/2014 at 11:38:55
Bakayoko and Amokatchi were the kind of signings youÂ’re talking about I believe. Neither of those players really made its- though I always thought Amokatchi deserved more than just cult status. Yakubu could have been a real long term legend but his injuries and subsequent frosty relationship with Notes finished that off. I always thought Moyes was too harsh on him. Bakayoko was just a disaster really.
David Hallwood
11 Posted 27/07/2014 at 12:07:12
Interesting comments from Ian Atkins about Lukaku; an Everton official stating an interest and no protest from Chelsea about tapping up.

David Hallwood
12 Posted 27/07/2014 at 12:09:48
Terence Leong (#2) Beardsley's problem was that he was 10-20 years ahead of his time (or 10-20 too late) and I remember Kendall commenting that he wasn't a midfielder or a striker, he was a good old fashioned inside forward.

Beardsley would have flourished in the more fluid systems of modern football; IMHO one of the best players to play for Everton and on his day was worth the price of the ticket. My abiding memory was the 3-0 demolition of Man U @ Old Trafford, where he ran the game.

Chad Schofield
13 Posted 27/07/2014 at 11:59:27
Had Lukaku just had a great World Cup then he might have been up there in that category... But although I really want him to sign (like most Evertonians), he's not really in the world marquee category. Besic had a great World Cup, but because where he's playing he's great at the price but a prospect really, because the demands in the EPL are arguably unique.

You only have to look at Chelsea's striker buying woes since Drogba to see buying World Star Strikers doesn't guarantee goals.

Brian Denton
14 Posted 27/07/2014 at 12:16:18
Because of Bosman/Sky/CL, what we did in 84-85 won't be repeated: Trevor Steven/Gary Stevens/Adrian Heath/Kevin Sheedy etc in today's climate would be pinched. Our only hope of building a winning team is for a combination of the following to happen:
(a) At least two youngsters tied to five year contracts come really good in the first year or so of the contract;
(b) Above are not sold by Kenwright;
(c) Some inspired signings are made of brilliant but injury prone players, or players ability but so much 'baggage' that no other club will touch them.

As for signing a player also coveted by one of the money clubs - forget it. Won't happen again in my lifetime. Note I have ruled out the billionaire take over; if that happens all bets are off!

Denis Richardson
15 Posted 27/07/2014 at 12:27:47
Only briefly with us but Anders Limpar would be on my list, him and Kanchelskis down the wings.....those were the days.

Yakubu was definitely a star signing when he came, shame about his injury. Can't say I was too excited when we got Fellaini as it looked like a panic buy, also breaking the transfer record for a defensive midfielder didn't really get the pulse racing.

I remember being excited with Tony Cottee at the time although his transfer coincided with the start of our 20 odd year demise.

Olivier Dacourt and Matteo Ferrari were quality signings but unfortunately took one brief look at us and eff'ed off sharpish.

David Donnellan
16 Posted 27/07/2014 at 12:53:06
I think Martinez's comments about getting Lukaku were meant a bit tongue in cheek with the fans that were asking him. I do believe though that we have a good chance of getting him, but I don't think we should take too much from these comments from Roberto Martinez.
Peter Gorman
17 Posted 27/07/2014 at 14:19:56
As a schoolboy I recall many a kickabout where I would pretend to be Andrei Kanchelskis and during those halcyon days I would frequently think about us having him and ask myself; "is this real?"

Before he came along, I used to pretend to be Earl Barrett.

Brian Denton
18 Posted 27/07/2014 at 16:40:02
Peter, I am interested as to how you could pretend to be both Earl Barrett and Andrei Kanchelskis. I can think of at least one inconsistency......
Mark Tanton
19 Posted 27/07/2014 at 16:56:38
How many appearances did Remy make last season? Would you bet on Lukaku joining Liverpool and us gambling on Remy? I donÂ’t have much faith in EvertonÂ’s clout if we end up in a fight foe him. Especially when Liverpool could make an offer on Monday and stick a shirt on him by Wednesday.
Si Cooper
20 Posted 27/07/2014 at 16:51:46
It has already been pointed out by a few but the OP has summed up several players incorrectly, imo.

I second Denis's shout for Anders Limpar as a player a lot of teams would have coveted, though his peak was during his time at Arsenal. That team may have been popularly categorized as 'the dogs of war' but there was a lot of silk to go with the steel and for a short time at least it seemed like the club could regain some of the prestige of the eighties.

Patrick Murphy
21 Posted 27/07/2014 at 17:14:47
Peter (17) There were many occasions when Earl Barrett pretended to be you, unfortunately he did it in the Premier League at Goodison.
Lee Courtliff
22 Posted 27/07/2014 at 19:38:46
Personally , I would take a punt on Remy.

A failed medical doesn't necessarily he's permanently jinxed.

Andy Gray failed a medical before his move to Wolves. More recently , Demba Ba did yet had 'success' at Newcastle and Chelsea.

He'd cost ٦.5m. At WORST that's ten million or so cheaper than Lukaku. His wages would surely be similar to Roms (that's a complete guess).

This would mean we'd have quite a lot of extra money to bolster the squad with some reasonable signings.

Obviously I would prefer Lukaku, but Remy could be a decent option.

I think Romelu has his heart set on a 'bigger' club than us.

Dean Adams
23 Posted 27/07/2014 at 19:53:55
Lee Courtliff 22
Havent you heard? There is no bigger club than us. It's all Sky bullshit that makes others think that way, honest like.

Trust me, Lee..................Are you under my spell yet?......

James Marshall
24 Posted 27/07/2014 at 20:30:26
What Lukaku wants, Lukaku might not get. All his talk of CL football and big clubs doesn't mean a damn thing. If Chelsea don't want him, and allegedly Mourinho is refusing to sell him to a CL rival team anyway, due in part to how he got bitten on the arse by the Courtois thing last season, I see no reason why they would dare sell him to the RS for example (Sturridge?!).

The only other team mooted is Real Madrid and to me that sounds like fantasy. Wolfsburg? They came 5th last year so why go to them? Unless Mourinho decrees otherwise, I'd say we're still favourites. Sky have also suspended betting with us favourites.

Raymond Fox
25 Posted 27/07/2014 at 20:36:23
Convincing post, James, it does rather stack up that way.

I certainly want him here, but there's a nagging doubt of will his heart belong to Everton, or will he view us as a means to an end. If he gives 100% that's all that matters I suppose, and if a CL club come in for him after a year or two and buy him for substantially more than we paid for him, all well and good.

I don't think we should get too confident of signing him though, there's plenty of time for it to go pear shaped!

Michael Winstanley
26 Posted 27/07/2014 at 21:24:10
I'd give it 48 hours.
Nick Armitage
27 Posted 27/07/2014 at 22:13:33
Colin Glassar
28 Posted 27/07/2014 at 22:39:23
I'm not mentioning Lukaku anymore as some of you can't, or won't be convinced about him.

I just wanted to mention Lee Courtiff's #22 point about players who've failed medicals and gone on to have great careers. Kanu. He had a hole in his heart and he had a fantastic career afterwards.

Rob Halligan
29 Posted 27/07/2014 at 22:52:27
Asa Hartford as well, Colin. A player we signed knowing he had hole in the heart.

I'm convinced we will sign Lukaku in the end.

Colin Glassar
30 Posted 27/07/2014 at 22:58:48
And Fer who had a damaged knee? I think the Remy deal fell through cos the guy, apparently, has an attitude problem. Plus he is demanding more money than anyone is prepared to pay him.
Rob Halligan
31 Posted 27/07/2014 at 23:01:36
If he's demanding more money than anyone is prepared to give him then that rules us right out of the equation.
Paul Withe
32 Posted 28/07/2014 at 10:55:29
Chelsea won't sell Lukaku to the RS, so I wouldn't worry about that. Think they may go for Bony now.

As for us, yes, would be great to see us pull off a top signing for a change. But I remember even the Kanchelskis deal nearly fell apart due to a disagreement between United and his former club, so even then we could never seem to sign players quickly without any hitches. Same with Lukaku. I still expect him to sign but just hope it's not right on the deadline day (i.e. after we've played Chelsea), which wouldn't surprise me.

Lev Vellene
34 Posted 01/08/2014 at 00:54:36
To be honest, I can't ever recall having seen EFC buy a player as a 'statement', and I came in around the mid-70's. Of course, I was still a kid back then, but apart from Andy Gray at the start of my conscious fanship??? At least from the start of the EPL, I've always felt we winged it, taking what we could get and hoping for the best. Rooney was nice, but whoever thought we could get him to do anything but help us with money? Well, I did, sort of... Two more years (even one...), I'd have loved that!
Patrick Murphy
35 Posted 01/08/2014 at 01:52:57
Gary Lineker, Ian Snodin, Dave Watson, Tony Cottee were all statements of intent at the time we bought them Lev - I think Bob Latchford could also be seen in that way. Andy Gray and Peter Reid were more of a good manager spotting latent talent and taking a punt. The real pity was that the production line from the youth set-up failed to produce more Kevin Ratcliffe's and Everton have usually done well when mixing home grown youngsters with shrewd purchases the fee is usually immaterial as if it is the right player at the right time it is the right price, too often Everton have bought for the sake of buying particularly during Colin Harvey's time as manager. But all managers live and die by their dealings in the market.

Gavin Ramejkis
36 Posted 01/08/2014 at 02:39:03
Patrick I think Howard Kendall played a blinder with Andy Gray who had been plagued with injuries prior to us getting him, whatever was in the water at Bellefield spurred him into mercurial performances that made my early teenage years very happy ones.

I always played as Andy King as a kid playing football and tried so many times to score that off balance volley

Chris Stubbs
37 Posted 01/08/2014 at 07:39:12
I think 2 signings during the 2000s almost came to the level being described. James Beattie and Andy Johnson. Beattie really failed to live up to expectations. Johnson and OFM seemed to have a falling out after Johnson had played a really great first season. His injury record after being sold indicated that a good decision had been reached. But not even Moyes would have predicted that.

Going back a few years, I was really excited by Bob Latchford's signing, but only because he was an established goal scorer with Birmingham. My concern then was that he and Trevor Francis were a terrific double act. One would not survive without the other. Thankfully for us, this was not the case with Bob Latchford. Not sure about Trevor Francis though. He seemed to lose his way after his time with Birmingham. I recall he had some minor successes with Nottingham Forest.

Mike Corcoran
38 Posted 01/08/2014 at 08:46:30
Gavin, someone who knows Andy King says he told him that his sole intention with that volley was to hit Souness in the face after a spat in the previous game!

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