Everton: Ademola Lookman should do all he can to stay at RB Leipzig
The RB Leipzig loan move has been a gamechanger for Lookman. He should do all he can to stay there.
The sun was shining on Goodison Park last summer.
A busy transfer window had seen Ronald Koeman recruit a swathe of premium talent and, for the first time in nearly fifteen years, it felt like Everton were going places.
We all know what’s happened since. Sam Allardyce was appointed in November, a dour-faced fixer hooked in to arrest a shocking decline.
Any early goodwill has now evaporated, however, with his sludgy style winning few admirers.
Yet despite the wailing and gnashing of the club’s supporters, owner Farhad Moshiri is likely to continue with the 63-year-old going into next season. Which begs a question about one of the club’s brightest young talents.
Ademola Lookman became League One’s most expensive player when he joined the Merseysiders from Charlton last January.
Judging from some of his early performances in blue, the £11 million fee seemed cheap. Lookman was pacy and virile, a keen dribbler and a constant threat whenever he appeared.
Stubbornness, however, meant that he would soon be shown the door marked ‘Do One’. That’s according to his befuddled manager, who seemed lost for words whilst regaling journalists about his decision to join RB Leipzig on loan in January.
“It’s one of the most unusual situations I’ve been in,” Allardyce guffawed. “We got some deals for him but he was adamant he chose Germany.”
Despite the public insistence that “I hope he proves us all wrong”, there was a sneering admonishment in his tone.
Lookman, he seemed to say, was a hotheaded young man making a bonehead move.
Answering the critics
His performances in Leipzig have answered the critics, though. Six goals in 10 games has sporting director Ralf Rangnick foaming for his signature.
“If it were down to us, I’d already know the answer,” he said. “But it’s not only down to us.”
That’s because the club does not have an option to make the move permanent.
Lookman, however, should do everything he can to convert his sojourn into a longer-term stay.
The most obvious reason why is the quality of competition he’ll face in Saxony. There, Lookman will have the opportunity to develop with better players in better competitions.
The club might have fallen from a brilliant second placed-finish last year but they will be strong bets in next season’s Europa League having only crashed out in the quarter-finals this time around.
A club in stasis
Everton, meanwhile, are a club in stasis. The disgruntlement around Goodison Park is palpable.
Even if Allardyce is due to stay, the knives will remain out on the off-chance that his side stumble in the new campaign.
With that in mind, the former England coach will be unlikely to place his faith in relatively unproven talents.
His handling of Davy Klaassen should give Lookman pause for thought with the Dutchman given nary a sniff.
Consistency pays off
Leipzig might be keen on keeping Lookman but it’s not because he has been unfailingly consistent in a white shirt.
He has starred but only fleetingly, at one point going five games in a row without scoring. It’s the type of run that would have a youngster torn out of Allardyce’s team.
Away from the lenses and hype of the Premier League, the former Charlton man will have the opportunity to hone his game without being written off because of the odd dry spell.
What’s more, he’ll be doing it at a club with a reputation for polishing potential into top-tier talent
“There is still room for improvement,” Rangnick admitted to the broadcaster MDR. “Although we shouldn’t forget how old he is. It depends on what he wants.”
Coach Ralph Hasenhuttl has been similarly effusive.
“I think he has huge potential and he has done really well for us since he came,” he said. “I hope the last word hasn’t been spoken on the matter just yet”.
Lookman will be hoping too. For the sake of his career and development, only a move to Germany makes sense.
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