Friday 18 January 2019

Klopp should chase Lukaku

Very few cross the Mersey divide but Everton striker ideal for Anfield

Everton's Romelu Lukaku
Everton's Romelu Lukaku

When Romelu Lukaku's matt black £350k Roller nosed into a parking space at Everton's training complex yesterday, it created a perfect image for his circumstances.

No doubt, he has driven to work in this remarkable vehicle since he bought it but if he wanted to deliver a "you can't really afford me" message to Everton, he couldn't have picked a better way.

A Rolls Royce doesn't sit too well with Everton's homespun traditions even if they have new money in the background and fans have been teased by the possibilities suggested by a £20m outlay on Morgan Schneiderlin in the January window.

By doing his job very well indeed over a number of seasons, Lukaku has made himself on object of great desire for clubs across Europe and even Everton's wealthy new billionaire backer Farhad Moshiri won't be able to stop him leaving.

The worry for Everton fans is that Ronald Koeman will be tempted away as well and that Moshiri's money comes too late to make a difference with this group of players.

By not signing a new deal, Lukaku has effectively put himself on an auction block and there will be plenty out there ready to pay him enormous wages because he keeps scoring goals.

There is some talk that he may yet agree a deal which, according to agent Mino Raiola, he was "99.99%" certain to sign just a few weeks ago, but insist on a £70m buy-out clause.

Likely as not though, he'll be off in the summer and so far, Manchester United and Chelsea lead the way in terms of speculation about a possible new home, but there will be many others in Spain, Germany and Italy who will be interested.

Lukaku has said in the past that he feels he has unfinished business at Chelsea, the club that let him go three years ago and offered £55m to get him back last summer.

But there's a club much closer to home in urgent need of his talents.

If Champions League football is the nominal reason for Lukaku hedging his bets at Goodison, Jurgen Klopp might just be able to supply it and if anyone needs a striker like the imposing Belgian, it's Liverpool.

At the sharp end of Klopp's front foot football, he would be a difficult man to stop and a vast improvement on current options.

Die-hard Kopites would saw off an arm before admitting publicly that Everton have any kind of advantage in the age-old rivalry but as far as strikers are concerned, there is simply no contest.

Daniel Sturridge seems to find it hard to get out of bed to play football these days such is his ongoing affliction with injuries and illness and Divock Origi is not the answer.

Remember, this is the club of Keegan, Toshack, Dalglish, Rush, Aldridge, Fowler and Owen. Even when Liverpool weren't winning much, they always had decent strikers, a lineage which ran right the way up to Luis Suarez.

Would Lukaku do what only two players Nick Barmby and Abel Xavier have done in the last three decades and cross the great divide?

Sure he would, if the price was right but geography and results might not be.

Merseyside is not on the map for A-list professionals and Klopp simply must deliver Champions League football if he wants to attract the kind of players he needs to Anfield.

No Champions League, no Lukaku or any other marquee name.

Even then, Lukaku has the look of a lad who wants to spread his wings.

A tatty, Scouse pigeon would make the flight across Stanley Park in about ten seconds and it's not much of trip.

London seems to make more sense and who better than Antonio Conte to hitch your wagon to right now?

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