Last season young man mountain Romelu Lukaku helped Everton to finish fifth in the Premier League and secure a Europa League place.
For a lot of teams that would be a distraction, but for Everton fans and players they relish the return of European action, even if it is not the Champions League.
The majority of Everton fans seem to be hoping that Lukaku will make a permanent move to Merseyside from Chelsea this summer, with a fee in the region of £20million mooted.
As a loan star he fired home 15 Premier League goals last season and was a crucial part of the Toffees team.
The chances of a permanent move to Goodison Park looked remote once the season had finished. With his stock high and Chelsea’s lack of effective strikers it seemed the young Belgian may be given a chance to shine next season at Stamford Bridge.
However, at the moment all signs are pointing to the Chelsea exit door for Romelu Lukaku and Everton now looks like a realistic home for the highly-rated youngster. It seems that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho does not seem to think that the striker is ready for first team action for the Blues.
Lukaku followed up his decent club season with a disappointing World Cup campaign with Belgium. He produced tepid displays in the first two games and was rested for the last group game.
However, he made an impact from the bench in Belgium’s last-16 encounter with USA, scoring a goal and creating another in a 2-1 win. That performance against the USA displayed what he can do when he is on form.
Romelu Lukaku is still very raw and it is easy to forget that the striker is 21-years old. He has all the physical attributes to become a top player in the future and the sky seems to be the limit for the youngster, if he concentrates on his football and not voicing his frustrations in the media.
Lukaku is far from the finished article and that is why his future at Chelsea is in doubt. His touch and work rate both need to improve if he is to fulfil his immense potential. However, he has time on his side and the scope for big improvement.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez could be just the man to harness that potential. The Spaniard has improved many Everton players during his short time at Everton and is always willing to give youngsters a try in the first team.
Lukaku has praised the Spaniard in the past for helping to develop his game and if he makes the move he is likely to help the Belgium youngster fulfil some of his potential.
Lukaku has talked about playing Champions League football in the past and that he would like to test himself on that stage. Everton narrowly missed out on the Champions League last season, but after last season cannot be written-off for challenging for a place in Europe’s elite competition next season.
The Toffees are no tin pot outfit. The men from Merseyside have a big history in English football and have still won more English top-flight titles than so called big boys Chelsea and Manchester City put together.
They are not a small club, just a club that lacks investment, which has been a perennial problem for the Toffees in recent years. Everton have the ability to beat the big spenders at their own game, as they pull off surprise results every season after season.
Goodison Park is once again a ground to be feared for opposition teams and next season will be no different. There is a sense on Merseyside that Everton have a bright future under Roberto Martinez and if Lukaku buys into his vision then it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
At the moment Lukaku is being heavily linked with a move to Germany with ambitious Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg and Italy with Serie A giants Juventus believed to be interested in signing the striker.
However, at the moment Romelu Lukaku’s partnership with Everton seems an ideal one. In fact he seems to be linked with the move on a daily basis.
If he performs well for Everton next season he could help the Toffees earn Champions League football and then he would get his wish of playing in the big time. If it does not work out then he can always move on.
In many respects Everton would be taking a risk in spending a club record fee of £20million on such a young player, but when that young player has such promise in his boots then that risk is well worth taking.
For now Lukaku’s future is unknown, but I for one would love to see the young striker back at Goodison Park next season, as it seems to be the ideal move for both parties.
Does Romelu Lukaku’s future lie at Everton?