It is becoming a more common theme for young English players to move abroad in the hope of gaining first-team football. The Bundesliga is their most popular destination, with the likes of Reece Oxford, Jadon Sancho, Ryan Kent and Ademola Lookman all spending time there this season with differing levels of success.
Lookman only played a total of 154 minutes in the Premier League this season and that caused him to look elsewhere for the game-time he needed to further his development. RB Leipzig came in to take the winger on loan move and the 20-year-old has been an instant success in Germany.
He hasn’t been a first-team regular, but he has been given the chance to impress and has started three more league matches than he did with Everton in the first half of the season.
The young attacker has made quite the impression on the German club as sporting director Ralf Rangnick has already talked about his hopes of making Lookman’s stay at the club a longer one. The official Bundesliga website report the following quotes taken from an interview with Kicker:
“If it were only up to us, then I would already know the answer. But it’s not only up to us – there’s no option in his contract. We’ll have to see what happens in the summer, and it also depends on what happens at Everton.”
Considering the talent levels in the squad, it was unlikely that Lookman was going to arrive and cement a position in the starting eleven immediately. He would have realised that, but he has impressed in the game-time that he has been given.
On his debut, he scored the winning goal against Borussia Monchengladbach and, last weekend, he got a crucial equaliser against Werder Bremen.
It can be difficult to adjust to a new country, especially at the age of 20, but Lookman has quickly adapted to his new surroundings and emerged as a good squad player for the German club.
The fact that he has only played 360 minutes mean the following stats need to be treated with caution, but the attacker has produced good numbers in the Bundesliga so far. He currently averages 2.25 chances created and two shots per ninety minutes, highlighting the impact he is having on matches in the final third.
This summer will be an interesting one for Lookman as there will be genuine interest in his services, with current loan club RB Leipzig leading the chase for his signature.
The uncertainty regarding Everton’s future means there is an opportunity for a club to take him from Goodison Park, but the Toffees need to do everything they can to keep hold of him.
The current wingers in the Everton side are Theo Walcott and Yannick Bolasie, who are 29 and 28 respectively. They have each had good Premier League careers, but their best years are likely behind them due to various injuries.
In Lookman, they have a player that can already impact matches now and has potential to develop into a more threatening attacker in the future.
If RB Leipzig come in with a big offer this summer, there might be a temptation to sell Lookman, but that would be a mistake.
Everton have ambitions to become the best of the rest and challenge to break into the top six, but it has become clear this season that their squad isn’t good enough to do that. They won’t be able to achieve those objectives if they sell their best young players as it will only create more recruitment work for them.
Lookman has proven his talent this season and pushed his development on while on loan with RB Leipzig. He has earned a first-team opportunity and it is now imperative that Everton provide one at the start of next season. Otherwise, they will lose one of their best young players.