As has been rumoured, Romelu Lukaku may be set to leave Everton this summer; most likely for a monster transfer fee. Many believe the big Belgium is destined for Chelsea but he has attempted to quash those rumours.
Lukaku recently denied ties to the west London club after playing a five-a-side match on a pitch laden with the Chelsea badge, tweeting:
Smh… hearing all this BS again.. its just a 5 a side game people! Some of you need to chill 😄✌🏿
— R.Lukaku Bolingoli9 (@RomeluLukaku9) June 24, 2017
Despite this, it is understood Lukaku will be moving to Chelsea instead of joining Manchester United. So, who do Everton have left and who could they target?
Everton’s other options
Last season, Lukaku led the Toffees' goal-scoring charts as he bagged 26 goals and well as notched seven assists – the second most in Everton's squad. Enner Valencia scored three for the Toffees and Arouna Koné claimed two. In short, Lukaku was Everton’s only legitimate striking option.
It has been confirmed that Malaga forward Sandro Ramírez will join the Toffees after the Under-21 European Championships in Poland where Spain are in the semi-finals.
Having spent just one season with the Boquerones, following a free transfer from Barcelona, the 21-year-old bagged 16 goals and five assists in all competitions.
Sandro is an exciting prospect and could offer Everton a lot further down the line. But he isn’t ready to be a replacement for Chelsea transfer target Lukaku.
Although Sandro is a similar age to the big Belgian he doesn’t possess the same physical traits or immense natural talent that Lukaku did.
If Everton want to build on last season and push up the Premier League table, instead of being a talent farm for bigger teams in Europe, they should spend their money on world-class talent when forced to sell their best players.
Potential Toffees transfer targets
In thelive sportbetting, Everton lead the charge to sign Celtic striker Moussa Dembélé at 1/2. Like Ramirez, Dembélé is an extremely talented and much sought-after prospect. He scored 32 times in all competitions as the Hoops did the treble last season and bagged five goals in Europe.
The 20-year-old Frenchman opted to join Celtic from Fulham last summer with an eye on maximising the amount of first-team football he would get while always playing in the Champions League.
The decision was proved to be the right one and Dembélé will command a starting berth at a Premier League club if and when he leaves Celtic Park.
He is not the only option available to Ronald Koeman this summer, though. If the Dutchman is looking for a more experienced replacement for Lukaku he could be tempted to move for Roma’s former Manchester City forward Edin Džeko.
The Bosnian scored 29 times in 33 Serie A starts last season and has netted 37 league goals in two seasons since moving to Rome in 2015. At 31 he would not be a long-term solution for the Merseysiders but he has been a reliable goal scorer in Germany, England and now Italy.
Whoever Everton bring in to replace Lukaku will be expected to hit the ground running next season – and they are big boots to fill. But the Toffees’ recruitment has been smart since Steve Walsh – the man credited with playing a vital role in Leicester City’s 2016 title win – moved to Goodison Park as director of football.
An experienced forward would be less of a gamble but if Everton can secure an exciting young talent such as Dembélé or Sandro it would be a statement of intent from the Toffees.