Romelu Lukaku transfer a sign of the times with Everton move

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So Everton finally got their man. After what appears to be long, drawn-out negotiations with not a little cajoling and persuading of both player and club, Chelsea, a record transfer fee for the Merseysiders has finally secured the striker.

But is £28million a reasonable fee for the Belgian, even at current valuations? Only last week Merseyside rivals Liverpool agreed an £8.5 million fee for Loic Remy, a striker of comparable talent though older than Lukaku.

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There were special circumstances as the fee was part of a release clause for Champions League qualifiers only; but it is still a huge difference to the £28million that Everton paid.

Liverpool were also able to secure the future services of Divock Origi, who effectively replaced Lukaku in the Belgian World Cup campaign, for £10million and picked up Daniel Sturridge, another young striker with a similar pedigree, for only £12 million around 18 months ago.

Splashing the cash

Everton are not noted for splashing the cash; indeed there has not been much cash to splash in recent seasons for them. Obviously the new TV deal has put more money in the pockets of all the Premier League clubs but there was a general expectation that Everton would invest a good deal of the money on infrastructure.

The fact that they felt the need to compete on the same level with the wealthier clubs is perhaps indicative of something of a sea change within aspiring Premier League clubs.

Everton undoubtedly needed a top striker to add the finishing to the pretty football style that Roberto Martinez has developed – but did they need to spend so much? Everton chairman, Bill Kenwright, obviously has faith in the Spaniard following his activity in the transfer market last season and the success on the field both in terms of play and results.

Competing with the big boys

The fact the club was willing to invest such a significant amount in a single player suggests they gauged that the momentum had to be maintained and didn't have time to develop an untried player with a more modest fee attached.

This would confirm, if confirmation is needed, that the only way to break into the top four in the Premier League is to buy your way in.

Toffee business model

The Toffees have departed somewhat from their previous tradition of careful, measured investment that produced good returns for them in the shape of players like Joleon Lescott, Marouanne Fellaini and Mikel Arteta who all contributed significant surpluses when sold. Whether Lukaku will continue this sequence is a very debatable point.

He will need to score goals, lots of them and quickly, and develop into an all-round top striker if he is to justify the huge transfer fee that his services commanded, to the Everton fans and board.

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Romelu Lukaku
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