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Saha says Lukaku isn't yet at Champions League level

by | 10/06/2015  Comments (33)  jump
Ex-Everton striker Louis Saha believes that the Blues' current Talisman has to prove he can hit the 30-goal mark in a season before he can be compared to Europe's elite goalscorers.

Romelu Lukaku has repeatedly asserted that he feels ready to play Champions League football and while that remains at arms length for Everton, speculation will persist that he could move on from Goodison Park to a club competing at that level before his current contract expires.

Saha feels, however, that there are areas of his game where he can improve while he is with the Blues which could help propel the club back to European competition and perhaps realise his Champions League dream with Everton.

He's a massive talent," the Frenchman is quoted as saying in the Liverpool Echo. "He's huge and got an immense physique. What I've heard about him is he can be a really top player.

Maybe at some point he is willing to go to a different level, I think any player of this calibre will think about moving to a Champions League club, but I think he needs to score more goals for Everton.

Maybe he just needs to work a little bit harder in terms of aggression and the type of qualities a number nine needs to be on top. But definitely he's one of the best strikers in the league.

You have a few strikers who can completely destroy a team on their own , and he's one of them. There is no doubt about it.  

Reader Comments (33)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 10/06/2015 at 07:32:36
Lukaku and his motor mouth agent could do worse than listen carefully to the words of a man who WAS World class on his day and did do it at a Champions League club.

Saha is 100% correct in each word he sayÂ’s regarding Lukaku and he was, on his day far superior in terms of natural ability and talents than Lukaku, the thing that held back Saha was his unfortunate injury record.

Lukaku has got a decent goal return, thereÂ’s not much doubt about that, but for a top top striker he needs to become a better more consistent performer, he also needs to be braver in battles against centre-halves when, with his physique, he should be battering them.

Victor Yu
2 Posted 10/06/2015 at 07:55:40
Saha is a more complete striker.

We hung on to him for too long though. DidnÂ’t we get a $9M offer for him or something but turned it down?

Anthony Flack
3 Posted 10/06/2015 at 07:58:42
Â’completei destroy. team on his own"

Did Luis mean Everton or the opposition.....

Gareth Clark
4 Posted 10/06/2015 at 08:11:35
Spot on, Lukaku has everything going for him! Young, fast , strong, with decent finishing. Now – instead of rating his own POTENTIAL – he needs to show his ability!

That young superstar "potential" is slipping away... YouÂ’re not going to be 22 forever, Big Rom!

Dan McKie
5 Posted 10/06/2015 at 08:19:54
Saha is spot on here. Lukaku could be a top player, but his goal return isnÂ’t that of a striker who will play for the top clubs, and it isnÂ’t improving from his loan at West Brom. He needs to hit/break that 25-goal barrier in the league before spouting off how good he is.

That said, I have no problems with his self belief or ambition, he just needs to show it on the pitch.

Nick Entwistle
6 Posted 10/06/2015 at 08:50:32
If thereÂ’s no space for him to run into then heÂ’s marked out the game. Simple as that. He needs to be better in the box or he simply goes missing.

Like at the World Cup, Belgium ditched Lukaku and put Mirallas up front before to get going. It is a lot to ask a 21-year-old to be the only striker of quality at a club who can only dream of CL football.

Saying that, there is the stat of how heÂ’s scored more goals than Rooney, Ronaldo and Messi at his age so we absolutely have a great talent on our hands.

Phil Sammon
7 Posted 10/06/2015 at 09:02:25
It does irk me to hear of Lukaku (and others) angling towards a Goodison Park exit... but, then again, I am completely biased. If I wasnÂ’t an Everton fan and I had to deal with the tactics served up by our manager this year then I would probably want out too. Huge, strong, pacy forward... I canÂ’t remember the last time he had a through-ball to run onto.
Phil Gardner
8 Posted 10/06/2015 at 09:28:31
Rom needs to be able to do far more than Â’run ontoÂ’ the ball and frankly, right now, he canÂ’t.

Â’One of the best strikers in the league?Â’ not in my book. Â’Potential?Â’ maybe. The top guys in the ECL can all hold the ball up better and are effective when man-marked and Rom can do neither of these things yet... unless heÂ’s up against shite.

Is he is good, aggressive and combative as Costa, Aguero, Rooney or even Giroud, Kane, Pelle or Benteke? With the exception of Giroud (perhaps), IÂ’d put Rom comfortably behind all of these in the EPL.

Work hard at it, kid, shut your gob, shut your agent up, move up to Formby, next door to Duncan, and get Sharp/Campbell and Royle to pop round on a regular basis.

Oh... and grow your dreadlocks again.

Nelly Verdonghan
9 Posted 10/06/2015 at 09:52:14
Hear, hear, Phil... I couldnÂ’t agree more. One of the things Rom most needs to improve is his first touch cos at the moment it is rank. All the top players past & present have a great first touch and unfortunately at this moment in time Rom doesnÂ’t.

I also think he needs to be more mobile and play right across the front line. At the moment, heÂ’s far too static and easy to mark IMO... Oh and by the way... get back onside quickly when you lose the ball instead of just ambling back... itÂ’s really frustrating!!

Lukaku definitely has the potential to be a top striker – I just hope his knob of an agent hasn’t got inside his head too much in order to line his own pockets. He should set himself a target of 100 goals for Everton and then see where we are...

Andy Meighan
10 Posted 10/06/2015 at 11:11:49
Phil (#7) I can remember the last time he had a ball to run onto... Sunderland (at home) only a few short weeks ago – and, once again, his abysmal first touch let him down, as it did on so many occasions, Leicester (home) being another example.

Four great opportunities none taken so please let’s not hark on about a lack of service because it’s an excuse served up by many to justify the inflated fee we paid for him. The simple truth is he’s okay – but nothing more. Unfortunately the lad himself thinks he’s world class; he’s not.

Darren Bailey
11 Posted 10/06/2015 at 12:02:02
Well said Louis, spot on!
Are you reading this Rom?
Tony J Williams
12 Posted 10/06/2015 at 12:17:34
He isnÂ’t strong enough mentally for a Champions League team.

Granted he is a big head but he is always out muscled by defenders when shoulder to shoulder or going up for a header.

He may be able to outpace defenders but he hardly ever won a battle of strength last season.

His goal tally last season should have been considerably higher. he needs to sort out his ten bob head and learn to be more aggressive.

Tom Bowers
13 Posted 10/06/2015 at 12:28:27
We have all seen LukakuÂ’s faults and some of it is down to attitude... maybe because he is slow maturing. His biggest problem is his ball control which he has little of, playing with his back to goal. His strength is running with the ball, especially coming in onto his left foot but I suspect many teams have sussed this out much like they did with Andros Townsend.

However, I still believe goals are what count and as long as he fires in a good quota he will remain Premier League standard but never a top European striker.

His production will get better if he gets a good partner.

Andrew Ellams
14 Posted 10/06/2015 at 13:10:00
He needs a hard-working partner who has more ability than Naismith. If Rodgers had a brain, he would would use Ings next season to do the dirty work and use Balotelli alongside him to make the most if the spaces that creates. We need a Danny Ings.
Eivind Nyhus
15 Posted 10/06/2015 at 13:54:57
King Louis knows his shit.
David Hallwood
16 Posted 10/06/2015 at 13:51:23
Well said, King Louis! At his age he was playing for Fulham and looked twice the player Lukaku is.
James Stewart
17 Posted 10/06/2015 at 14:19:11
Talk about the pot and the kettle. Saha was a massively inconsistent player with a lot of the same faults as Lukaku, for example work-rate!
Ross Edwards
18 Posted 10/06/2015 at 14:24:53
HeÂ’s 21 years old. In the next 2 or 3 seasons he will grow in potential. Of course heÂ’s not a Champions League player yet. ItÂ’s very difficult for him with the lack of service he gets.

MartinezÂ’s possession game doesnÂ’t suit him. HeÂ’s a big powerful guy who should be getting crosses and set pieces being whipped in towards him by the wide men and our full backs bombing forward.

Last season we didnÂ’t see that. At times Baines and Coleman barely got to the halfway line before having to take the safe sideways option. You canÂ’t score goals if you donÂ’t get the service. ItÂ’s as simple as that.

Crosses and corners etc may be anathema to Martinez, but thatÂ’s the kind of service he needs. Mix it up a bit. We saw in the 3-3 derby in RobertoÂ’s 1st season, with that powerful header to put us 3-2 up, that he can be deadly in those situations. But when we get set pieces that barely reach the first man, that weapon is useless.

Hardly any crosses are whipped in, despite having 2 of the best fullbacks in the league, due to MartinezÂ’s obsession with the perfect goal and walking it in.

Football is a simple game. Get it to the wide man, beat a man, put a cross in, create a chance. ItÂ’s not pretty but itÂ’s effective. Especially when you have a big powerful striker in there like we have.

Pa Carty
19 Posted 10/06/2015 at 14:54:14
Rom needs to buck up his ideas and fast. Prove yourself over the next couple of seasons with us and then angle for the move to a so-called bigger club. He owes this club an awful lot after the money we splashed out on him. His Premier League total was shocking for the season just gone.
Barry Jones
20 Posted 10/06/2015 at 15:23:45
I am fed up with Rom either being touted or touting himself as the next best thing since sliced bread and wanting to play at the top level. At this moment in time, his game is totally one dimensional.

I look at Robert Lewandowski. He has everything a striker needs. He can run at players, hold the ball up, is good in the air, has incredibly quick feet for a big guy, strikes a ball superbly with either foot, has great movement and makes good decisions with the ball. Rom is a million miles away from this.

John Voigt
21 Posted 10/06/2015 at 18:35:44
Lukaku is a player I support. Scoring 10+ goals his 1st two seasons is a positive. LetÂ’s face reality. Having a 10+ goal scorer with a physical presence up front is not something most mid table teams have.

IÂ’ll agree with anyone who comments on his poor 1st touch and his inability to quickly get back from offside positions.

What Lukaku needs is time to get better at his faults and better service from his teammates.

Bobby our manager needs to show the Everton faithful that he can go out and sign impact players or low priced gems. IÂ’ll wait until the end of the summer to assess BobbyÂ’s summer business. Right now Everton have a team that canÂ’t compete with the top 6-7 teams in the league because they donÂ’t have enough goal scores/impact players.

Lukaku and Mirrales are the only Everton players that score regularly so getting down on them isnÂ’t helping our cause.

If IÂ’m going to moan about Everton players itÂ’s going to be the guys who have no chance of making the 18 player squad of one of the big money teams. The guys who play a position that should score the odd goal or chip in with some nice assists, but give us virtually nothing.

Paul Kossoff
22 Posted 10/06/2015 at 19:48:26
Dan 5, LukakuÂ’s goal record isn't that of a striker who plays for a top club, you mean Falcao at top club Man Utd: goals scored 4, or maybe Balotelli at top club Liverpool: goals scored 1.
Tim Michael
24 Posted 10/06/2015 at 20:48:18
My view on Rom from my seat at Goodison is:

1. His hold up play is poor. For man of his size, his protection of the ball from his marker isnÂ’t good enough.

2. He goes through the motions when opposing defenders have the ball. Also he tries to direct his colleagues when he should be concentrating on his own job.

3. Lazy when coming back from back from an offside position. If heÂ’s only just coming back then normally thereÂ’s no-one making the run forward should we counter.

4. DoesnÂ’t make the runs into the channels. Spurs game at home showed this to be a weakness. Could be that his recent comment about not being a winger has had this effect. Top strikers make those runs all the time.

5. All very well saying heÂ’s hit 20 goals this season but his PL return wasnÂ’t good enough for a 㿈m striker. That has to improve.

6. Finally he just canÂ’t head a ball under challenge, can he?

Its a bit of a demolition of him really but in his defence..........

1. He has shown that he has ability and can on his day produce the goods.

2. When on the move with ball, he is a big threat.

3. He will take on responsibility in dead ball situations.

4. He has the knack of scoring crucial goals.

5.HeÂ’s an honest lad who perhaps in time will harden up

Assuming that heÂ’s still with us next season, we should forget playing him as a lone striker. The system has already been found out by the other teams and he clearly does not enjoy that role. He needs to play with a co-striker. Kone is not the answer but to be fair when Kone partnered Lukaku up front last season it took the weight and expectancy off and he looked a lot brighter. We did look a threat.
Assuming that heÂ’s happy taking penalties, let him do that and make that clear to all.

Well thatÂ’s my take on big Rom. If he hits 15+ PL goals next season together with half a dozen over a decent cup run, heÂ’ll certainly be gone. His agent will agitate the move but we need him to perform if only to get us a 㿏m fee.

Kase Chow
25 Posted 10/06/2015 at 23:31:55
Rom always gives the impression that rather than playing for Everton, heÂ’s playing for his move away from Everton.

Concentrate on the day job lad

Ant Dwyer
26 Posted 11/06/2015 at 00:44:16
Lukaku is a player who clearly sees his long term future else where, but heÂ’s got to give us at least another year or two before spouting his mouth off. HeÂ’s a good young player with potential, thatÂ’s it. Bag 25-30 goals next season and then go into the following season with a good start and then he can open his mouth.

Give us until December 2016 and see where weÂ’re at, then he may be at a club with Champions League potential.

Eric Holland
27 Posted 11/06/2015 at 08:00:47
Can we win here?

If he scores 30 goals next season and finds his form, he will be off. Then we will be calling him Traitor, Judas, Etc.
If he scores 20 again, we will be calling him lazy, useless, etc.

We are a selling club and if we get a player that makes the grade, the big clubs will come calling, We need some serious investment to even challenge for the top four.

Ant Dwyer
28 Posted 11/06/2015 at 09:54:44
Agreed Eric but in all fairness, thatÂ’s football. I know what works best for me, he bangs goals galore, we kick on, and his agent keeps talking. The more he dresses Lukaku up, the more it strengthens our position.

HeÂ’s one of the best youngsters about, heÂ’s in one of the most showcased leagues, and heÂ’s tied to a long-term contract. Surely even we canÂ’t screw that up.

John Voigt
29 Posted 11/06/2015 at 11:59:37
Everton did good business signing Lukaku. When I look around the Premier League I see a bunch of expensive strikers who donÂ’t score anything near the rate Lukaku scores.

When a club like Everton have a player like a Wayne Rooney, they are a selling club. This might be the case with Lukaku, but thatÂ’s not a reason to feel like heÂ’s a traitor. If Lukaku does hit the 30-goal mark for Everton in either of the next two seasons, he most likely will be off. In this scenario Everton would make money off him and would have all the goals he scored.

Even if Everton wanted to keep Lukaku and he wanted to stay it would be a tough decision for Lukaku cause a Champions League team might offer double the wages Everton could pay.

DonÂ’t know about others but, if somebody else wanted to double my pay tomorrow, I jump at the chance.

Thomas Surgenor
30 Posted 11/06/2015 at 12:56:31
Barkley & Rom seemed very off-form this season. Last season both were much better.

I canÂ’t remember one Â’great goalÂ’ Rom scored this season. Last season, he was banging them in. Maybe our expectations have just risen?

However, in his defence... there isnÂ’t another young striker at that money who I would prefer. On his day, he is unplayable! (It's just those days were few and far between, these last 12 months!)

Mick Wrende
31 Posted 11/06/2015 at 13:01:34
Why do people say Lukaku scores a lot of goals? From open play in the Premier League last season, he scored 6 in 35 appearances. That is pathetic. The rest were from penalties or against poor teams in Europe.

He is nowhere near Premier League standard, let alone Champions League. And stop making excuses for him like poor service and being young. He is a fat lazy lump and his sort never change.

Jamie Barlow
32 Posted 11/06/2015 at 13:17:53
DonÂ’t penalties and goals against European teams count?
John Voigt
33 Posted 11/06/2015 at 15:10:10
Lukaku does score. Scoring in Europe counts. Scoring in cup competitions counts. Scoring penalties counts.

Having a player that scored 20 goals for his Premier League team in all competitions is uncommon. ItÂ’s even more uncommon for players on less that 𧴜k a week. I donÂ’t feel like checking stats, but IÂ’d be surprised if there are more than 3-4 other players beside Lukaku who scored 20 or more goals for their club and make less than 𧴜k a week. I assume Harry Kane would be one of those players. Charlie Austin comes to mind too.

FYI, Sergio Aguero type players under 𧴜k donÂ’t exist.

I support Everton and Lukaku is just about as good a striker as the Blues are going to find. HeÂ’s also the only Everton striker that really draws attention from opposing defenses which should open up things for others. He also isnÂ’t totally selfish with the ball and tries to find teammates in good spots.

What Everton need is another centre-forward. Going into next season with Kone and Naismith as 2nd choice strikers isnÂ’t going to get Everton to any of the European places. Going into last season, EtoÂ’o was brought in and, although it didnÂ’t work out for the best, at least Bobby tried to add some scoring punch to the lineup/bench.

At least starting the season with a player who has scored 15+ goals in 2 of his 3 Premier League seasons gives some hope that Everton can finish well above where they did this season.

Anthony Jaras
35 Posted 11/06/2015 at 22:53:29
#Thomas Surgenor

You canÂ’t remember ONE great goal Lukaku scored?

How about his screamer in our final Europa league game?

For the record, IÂ’m not really a Lukaku fan, for many of the reasons mentioned above (poor first touch, lazy, doesnÂ’t win headers, etc) and I feel that I f a decent offer came in, we should take it.

The lad rates himself too highly and he has no right to.

IÂ’d love to sign a new first choice striker and give him a challenge to truly be number one.

Charlie Austin would be my first choice as he can head, use both feet and works his socks off. HeÂ’d cost half the price of Lukaku and is more of a team player.

Maybe then, Rom would pull his finger out and we could pair them up.

Javier Hernandez would also be worth a punt, maybe on loan.

We are certainly short of quality and options up top.

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