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Everton look almost certain to lose their hit man Romelu Lukaku, with the big Belgian admitting he has ‘reached an agreement with another club’, according to SkySports. The identity of that club is unknown but Everton should start planning for life without their talisman who scored an impressive 25 goals and 6 assists last season. Lukaku has an astonishing 87 goals in just 156 starts in the Premier League; incredible numbers for a 24-year-old. While it will be a very tough task to find a replacement, Everton would be smart to move for Chelsea’s out-of-favor striker Michy Batshuayi.
Batshuayi was close to joining Everton back in 2014, after scoring 40 times in 73 games for Standard Liege but the player eventually chose Marseille where he scored an impressive 26 goals in 62 appearances, 24 of which came off the bench. Things haven’t been smooth at Chelsea, with Batshuayi being a spectator in Antonio Conte led Chelsea’s spectacular title win. However, he scored the decisive goal at the Hawthorns to seal Chelsea’s title win. He managed a decent tally of 9 goals in his first season, but worryingly for him, they came in 7 starts and 22 substitute appearances. The talent is there, but in a perfectly set Chelsea lineup, it looks increasingly difficult for him to nail down a starting spot. Hence, it makes perfect sense for him to move to a Premier League team and Everton could be the best possible team for him.
As discussed before, Lukaku is certainly leaving, and replacing him with Michy would be a shrewd move. Both are Belgians, but that’s not where the similarities between the two end. Lukaku is a clinical finisher, as he needs just an average of 4.4 shots to get a goal. For comparison, that is a more efficient return than Sergio Aguero (6.95), Diego Costa (5.55) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (6.76). Batshuayi got a paltry 239 minutes of Premier League action, but made the most of it with a goal every 47.8 minutes and just 3.4 shots. Of course, it’s easier to put up such numbers by playing for fewer minutes but it goes on to show his clinical nature.
Lukaku is an aerial threat with his huge frame and strength, which is another similar trait as Michy has proven to be strong in the air and a handful for the opposition defenders due to his size and strength. Lukaku has good hold up abilities which makes him an asset in his team’s build up play, as evidenced by his 6 assists last season and that is one area where Lukaku clearly trumps his Belgian counterpart. However, Michy is very quick and has great energy, much like Lukaku, which makes him an ideal player to play as a lone striker, which will only benefit Koeman as he wouldn’t need to tinker his system at all.
As far as like to like replacements go, Batshuayi is so similar to Lukaku. It is to be seen if he can replicate the kind of numbers Lukaku achieved. Should the transfer indeed happen, it will be a very good move.