Everton striker Romelu Lukaku’s desire to play in the UEFA Champions League next season could open the door for a potential move to the Parc des Princes. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic likely to depart Paris Saint-Germain this summer, the Belgian international will be an appropriate target.
The 34-year-old Ibrahimovic has been impressive this season for PSG but he’s yet to sign a contract extension with the club. The only clue as to which team he’ll suit up for next comes from cryptic quotes about a “bright future.” With interest coming from clubs across Europe and an outrageous €75 million contract said to be on the table from a Chinese outfit, it might actually take PSG replacing the Eiffel Tower with a statue of Zlatan to keep him in Paris.
Following Ibrahimovic out of the club could be Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan striker is constantly linked with a move away from the club, sometimes to the delight of PSG supporters, and it’s becoming clear that at least one of these prized attackers will not be in Paris Saint-Germain colors next season. Could the 22-year-old Lukaku, currently third in the English Premier League in scoring, be the new face of the Parisian attack?
Standing over six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, Lukaku is surprisingly quick on his feet. Blessed with wonderful technical skills on the ball, he is capable of dribbling past a player, or two, and is a nightmare for any defender. The former Chelsea man is excellent at holding the ball up and currently has six assists in the Premier League. When compared to Ibrahimovic and Cavani this season, Lukaku has created more chances and executed more key passes. He’s also an expert at getting on the end of crosses with brilliant heading abilities and finishes well in front of goal. To round out his arsenal, Lukaku has a powerful shot and an increasingly dangerous free kick. At his age, the Belgium international would be a great replacement for PSG’s outgoing strikers.
Lukaku is arguably the hottest young prospect available in Europe at the moment—currently enjoying the best season of his career with 25 goals in all competitions. His 18 goals in the Premier League, only three behind leader Harry Kane, are even more impressive when you consider Everton is currently in twelfth place. With 119 club goals at 22-years-old, Lukaku is already better than Cristiano Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic when they were his age. And if it’s experience you require, Lukaku played for Belgium in World Cup 2014.
Romelu Lukaku has now scored 119 club goals in his career. He’s still only 22-years-old! pic.twitter.com/lzZdnTU6ec
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 12, 2016
As with most young players, Lukaku has plenty aspects of his game that needs improvement. However, with most of the more refined strikers in Europe (Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Aguero, Karim Benzema, and Luis Suarez) seemingly impossible to lure away from their current clubs, Lukaku might be the best opportunity for PSG to sign a top striker this summer.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gonzalo Higuain could be targets but the former appears to have his sights on Real Madrid and ruled out a move to the French capital. Higuain isn’t really any better than Cavani and I worry about his ability to perform on the biggest stage. Lukaku on the other hand shares the same agent as Ibrahimovic and a deal should be possible if PSG pursue him.
Everton paid £28 million (approximately €36 million) to sign Lukaku from Chelsea and they’ll want to make a hefty profit on their prized asset should they decide to sell. Reports claim the Merseyside-based club have set the starting bid at £50 million (€63 million) and it will likely go up from there. Once the sticker-shock wears off, remember, Manchester United bought Anthony Martial from AS Monaco for €50 million and that’s not including the incentives that could kick in based off his play. This is the footballing world we live in and thanks to PSG’s improved Financial Fair Play standing, they should have no problem paying Everton their asking price.
Giving such a young player the keys to the club is high risk but with plenty of veterans in the squad, Lukaku should have no problem thriving at the Parc des Princes. The ideal situation next season will be to re-sign Ibrahimovic for one more year, sign Lukaku to be his understudy, and sell Cavani to a Premier League club for a ridiculous fee. However, if Zlatan decides to take his talents to another club, retaining the services of Cavani will be critical in order to provide competition for Lukaku.