Reports in the Spanish press this week suggest that Real Madrid have set their sights on Everton’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. A move to the La Liga giants may seem unlikely, but it should be no surprise that the 22-year-old is attracting that kind of attention.
The Belgian began his Premier League career with Chelsea, but was unable to impress then-manager Jose Mourinho enough to be handed consistent first-team chances, even after highly successful loan spells, first with West Brom and then the Toffees.
A permanent switch to Goodison Park resulted, and the Belgian has developed into one of the best young strikers in Europe.
Lukaku has been in tremendous form this season in an under-performing Everton side. Smashing home 18 goals in 29 appearances, Lukaku has almost single-handedly kept the Toffees within sight of a Europa League berth, and the FA Cup trophy.
His stats for the current Premier League campaign are staggering:
Goals per minute: 140
Chances created: 46
That tally of 18 goals sees Lukaku sit behind only Harry Kane (21 goals), and Jamie Vardy (19 goals) in the list of Premier League top scorers. However, there are many reasons to consider the Everton man’s performances more impressive.
While Kane has a better goals per minute ratios (130 minutes per goal) he has registered just one assist this season. While Vardy has produced the same amount of assists as Lukaku, he scores a goal every 143 minutes.
Perhaps the most telling factor is that while Leicester and Tottenham are challenging for the title, Everton are not even in the top half of the table.
Lukaku’s goals this season mean that he’s notched up 119 goals thus far in his career, all by the age of 22. It’s incredibly impressive. But how does he compare to two other strikers that took the Premier League by storm?
Club at 22: Manchester United
Goals at 22: 65 club goals
Current age: 30
Current career goals: 261
Club at 22: Liverpool
Goals at 22: 111 club goals
Final career goals: 222
Not too bad, Lukaku.
But as it’s a move to Spain that been mooted, we should perhaps compare Lukaku to two legends of the Spanish leagues, Real Madrid’s Raul, and, of course, Lionel Messi of Barcelona.
Club at 22: Real Madrid
Goals at 22: 145 club goals
Final career goals: 388
Club at 22: Barcelona
Goals at 22: 127 club goals
Current age: 28
Current career goals: 460
While Lukaku doesn’t quite match the two La Liga greats, that the former Anderlecht man is even close to Messi is astounding.
A move to Real Madrid might not be the best idea for Lukaku; in a star-studded line-up where he won’t be the pivotal man up front he won’t have the same impact, but regardless of where he ends up, the 22-year-old has a career of some note ahead of him.