Everton’s 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Chelsea on Saturday at Goodison Park was feisty to say the least.
It was a good old-fashioned blood and thunder English cup tie, which was decided by a moment of brilliance and a cool head, both provided by former-Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.
The Toffees club-record signing had failed to score in his previous four appearances against his old employers, but his brace effectively put the reigning champions out of their misery this season. Guus Hiddink’s side now have very little to play for this season.
Everton on the contrary now have at least one trip to Wembley and an FA Cup semi-final to look for and it is all courtesy of their big number ten.
Judged not good enough by Chelsea
Romelu Lukaku arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2011 from Anderlecht as one of the brightest young players in world football. His potential justified a £10million fee, which could have risen to £17million depending on appearances.
He was very much regarded as the future of the Chelsea attack and long-term heir to Blues legend Didier Drogba. He was sent out on obligatory loan spells to West Brom and Everton to gain experience.
The youngster impressed at both clubs in his temporary spells and returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2014.
It was expected that Lukaku would then get a chance in the Blues first team, instead Blues boss Jose Mourinho decided that he would allow the striker to leave on a permanent basis and the club accepted a £28million bid from Everton for the youngster.
Having enjoyed his loan spell with the Toffees, the striker seemed to have no hesitation in signing for the club from Merseyside, who he had helped finish fifth in his loan spell, accruing a club-record Premier League points total in the process.
Learnt a lot in his time on Merseyside
Last season was a massive learning curve for the striker, who is incredibly still only 22-years-of-age. He has such potential, but his return of ten Premier League goals last season was considered disappointing, but in truth the whole team struggled to live-up to the performances of the previous campaign.
Lukaku in his early days at Everton looked like he could not trap a bag of cement. His touch was often heavy and poor. Everybody could see he had the attributes to be a great player, but bits of his game needed heavily improving if he was to become a top player.
This season though, obviously having worked on his touch during pre-season, it has improved immensely. He had a habit of coming short last season and losing the ball.
This season he is coming short and shielding the ball and at times bullying defenders, using his impressive physique to great effect. The youngster now looks like the perfect player to be the focal point of any attack.
The group of Chelsea fans that celebrated his departure and claimed that Mourinho had done good business to sell the youngster for such a fee may be reconsidering that seeing the way the Belgian international has performed this season.
Everton need to keep hold of the youngster
His impressive displays and 25 goals this season in all competitions have obviously attracted interest from elsewhere in the youngster. Lukaku has scored 18 league goals this season which is a club-record in the Premier League era.
He has now got into double-figure for goals in the last four Premier League campaigns and is odds of 9/1 to win the PFA Young Player of the year awards, with only Tottenham duo Dele Alli and Harry Kane shorter odds than the striker to claim that award.
Everton have struggled to keep hold of their most talented youngsters in the past, but as Toffees boss Roberto Martinez proved with the John Stones to Chelsea saga, Everton will not be pushed around in the transfer market anymore.
The arrival of billionaire Farhad Moshiri as major shareholder at the club will hopefully lead to a brighter future for the Merseyside club.
A key to that is keeping Lukaku at the club. Mr Moshiri has promised transfer funds to the Everton boss this summer, which means the Toffees can bring in a better quality player into the club this summer and maybe able to challenge further up the table next season.
Lukaku is a fiercely ambitious young man, who no doubt wants to win the big trophies. Everton under the old regime had no chance of achieving the strikers aim.
However, maybe the new regime will be able to help the club from Merseyside finish in the top-four in the next few years and prove to their talented young players that they can achieve their objectives with the Toffees.
Will Romelu Lukaku be an Everton player next season?
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