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How do you replace a big-money star like Romelu Lukaku?

The Boot Room



As the SkySports Transfer Totaliser spins into overdrive, the 2017 summer transfer window looks set to become the highest spending window of all time. Despite all the talk of the ‘obscene’ and ‘ridiculous’ money involved, in reality it is little more than a reflection of the enormous amount finance that Premier League clubs take from sponsorship and television deals.

What is rarely discussed, however, is what clubs should do when handed a gargantuan amount of cash for their prized asset.

Big money transfers can be replaced in two ways, either with another superstar, or with a series of smaller purchases, to improve the squad as a whole. Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur did the latter when trying to replace Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale, respectively, with what could, generously, be called ‘mixed results’.

Both were replaced with a series of signings, but only Adam Lallana and Christian Eriksen have proved successful investments for either club, and neither has really hit the level of their goal-scoring predecessors.

In fact, other than these two bright spots, what really replaced Suarez and Bale was a flood of mediocrity which would see both Liverpool and Spurs go backwards in the following season. Memories of Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Lazar Markovic will bring a painful shudder to fans of either club.

An attempted overhaul of the playing staff turned into a scatter-gun approach which saw both clubs lose money, add to their wage bill and weaken their team. Not the shrewd business that Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, is noted for.

However, while Liverpool and Tottenham were left with egg on their face trying to replace a star player, Juventus put all their proverbials in one basket after losing Paul Pogba to Manchester United for a world-record transfer fee. They went big and spent the vast majority of their new-found wealth on Gonzalo Higuaín, fresh from a goal-laden three years with Napoli.

Although €90 million was an awful lot for a 28-year-old, this was a player who had just plundered 36 league goals, and Juventus’ faith was repaid as Higuaín top-scored in the club’s domestic double-winning campaign. The Old Lady also reached the Champions League final that season. The creative Pogba had been replaced with the clinical Higuaín.

With such stark examples, Everton fans may wish to temper their close-season optimism as their approach to replacing Romelu Lukaku seems to follow Liverpool and Tottenham’s model, rather than Juventus’.

The Lukaku money has, thus far, been spent on Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez, amongst others, and, while they all have potential, none have shown Lukaku’s quality in their careers so far. Koeman’s success at Everton last season shows he knows how to bring the best out of players and his Goodison revamp will look to build a new spine of promising young players.

Replacing a star is difficult for any manager, regardless of the money involved, and clubs can often find themselves crashing down to earth. After the progress of the last year an important season follows for Everton, and Koeman must hope he has unearthed a few Eriksens, and not been sold a Soldado.

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Everton’s reported move for Croatia defender Domagoj Vida would seriously improve defence

The Croatia international would bolster Marco Silva’s options significantly.

Jamie Watts



The world’s eyes were on Croatia last night, as Zlatko Dalic’s side dismantled Argentina 3-0. And a number of high-profile targets for Premier League clubs were in action. However, it appears Everton have identified a potential target that isn’t one of the household names, in Domagoj Vida, according to reports from Turkish outlet SABAH.

The defender currently plies his trade for Turkish giants Besiktas, having joined from Dynamo Kiev on a free transfer in January. But the 30-year-old has struggled to nail down a regular starting place at Vodafone Park. And Marco Silva could now swoop for his services, as he looks to bolster his defensive options ahead of his first season in-charge at Goodison Park.

The defender’s performance last night suggests he could be a serious coup for Silva if a deal can be completed. Vida partnered Liverpool regular Dejan Lovren at centre-back and managed to keep a star-studded Argentina attack; including the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala quiet for the duration of the game.

Photo: Getty Images

His aggression and determination was evident for all to see, as a string of last-ditch blocks and slide tackles rounded off a brilliant display for Croatia, as they secured a clean-sheet. And the dogged attitude the player showed last night, is what was largely missing from Everton’s rear-guard last term.

Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are coming to the latter stages of their careers with the Blues, and with the departure of Ramiro Funes Mori yesterday (BBC Sport), a deal for Vida would make perfect sense on Merseyside this summer.

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Sam Allardyce transfer target Marcelo Brozovic thriving in Russia

Everton tried to sign the Croatian in January but he has since been in fine form.

Mathew Nash



Croatia may have just sent Argentina packing from the World Cup. The Balkan side produced a ruthless punishment over the South American side, who were inept in their 3-0 defeat. The result was built on a midfield masterclass. The world-class Luka Modric and brilliant Ivan Rakitic had acres of time and space to send Argentina spinning.

But, the anchorman also deserves credit. Marcelo Brozovic, for the second game in a row at the World Cup, was brilliant. The pendulum in the heart of the Croatia clockwork, the Inter Milan star showed just why he became a key player for the Nerazzurri at the back end of last season.

Which is a lot different to January, when it seemed he was Everton bound.

(Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Sam Allardyce pursued the Croatian fervently throughout winter. As summed up by Football Italia the Toffees were one of several teams willing to buy the player, with his time at Inter coming to an end. The Nerazzurri were apparently looking for a fee in the region of €28 million (£24.5 million) for the player.

But no deal ever came to fruition. Now Everton must be wishing that Big Sam and co had pushed the deal over the line.

Everton are said to be on the lookout for class improvements this summer and Brozovic is proving to be just that.

Inter Milan will be ecstatic that they did not end up selling the player. But watching him thrive for Croatia at the World Cup will continue to give Everton fans that feeling of missing out.                       

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£17.6m on Marco Silva favourite would be waste of Everton’s resources

The Peruvian played under Silva at both Watford and Sporting and is now linked with Everton.

Mathew Nash



As recently reported in the print edition of Correio da Manha, as relayed by Sports Witness, Everton are believed to be in the hunt for Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo this summer. The Toffees, along with ‘other English sides’ and Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, are all said to be keen on the player who is valued at around €20 million (£17.6 million).

It all comes after his excellent showing in the World Cup against Denmark recently. Now, with Peru facing France later today, he will again look to impress.

But Everton would be wasting their money at £17.6 million.

(Photo by Matthew Ashton/Getty Images)

Yes, Carrillo is talented. His performance v Denmark was impressive, however, he was up against an out of position left-back in Stryger Larsen and his end product still left much to be desired.

It was a big improvement on his form at Watford. The 27-year-old was erratic for the Hornets, scoring just twice in 30 games and bagging just two assists. Those are not stats consistent with such a financial outlay.

Marco Silva knows the player well. The new Everton boss had him at Sporting and then lured him to Watford last summer.

But, despite his history with the player, Everton should steer well clear this summer.

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