By Paul Conatzer
You never can be sure what you’re going to get with young players. For every Wayne Rooney, who dazzles from the start, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands who you will never hear of.
Ademola Lookman made an instant impact on his debut for Everton. Scoring the fourth goal after coming on as a sub as the Blues walloped Manchester City, 4-0. Lookman joined Everton in January of 2017 for £11 million. However, despite intermittent flashes, he was unable to carve out a first-team-role. He finished his Everton career with four goals in 48 games.
Lookman moved to RB Leipzig on Thursday for a fee believed to be around £22.5 million. Lookman joined Everton in January of 2017 from Charlton for £11 million, according to the BBC.
Lookman’s move has created consternation among some Everton supporters. But it’s not like he didn’t have a chance. He was hampered by managerial changes during his tenure at Everton. It was the presence of Ronald Koeman in the dugout at Goodison Park that drew Lookman away from Charlton.
“When you look at what he did at Southampton, and what he does with young players in terms of developing them, that was a big attraction,” Lookman told the EFC, shortly after signing. However, a poor start to the next season cost Koeman his job and forced Everton to bring in rescue-merchant Sam Allardyce.
Allardyce wanted Lookman to go on loan to Derby in the Championship. However, Lookman went to Leipzig and impressed as he scored 5 goals in 11 games. Leipzig wanted to bring in Lookman permanently after the loan. New Everton manager Marco Silva wanted to give Lookman a shot.
According to The Guardian, Silva made a concerted effort to rekindle Lookman’s enthusiasm for Everton when he succeeded Allardyce last summer and refused the youngster’s wish to rejoin Leipzig.
“I told him and our board on the first day that I believe in his skills and his profile,” Silva responded. I did my technical analysis on him and he is a good talent. He is our present and our future. Now he has to fight for his position.”
Despite Silva’s optimism, Lookman couldn’t breakthrough, even though Theo Walcott was mired in an under-par season. Even if he had stayed at Goodison, Lookman would have found himself down the pecking order behind Richarlison, Bernard, Walcott and possibly even some youngsters like Anthony Gordon.
So it’s a case of what might have been at Everton as Lookman follows former Manchester City youngster Jadon Sancho to Germany. There is a big difference, however, at 19, Sancho is a full England international. Lookman is two years older than the Borussia Dortmund forward.