Goal breaks down the top five World Cup standout players to watch as we approach the start of the English Premier League season.
It may well be the beginning of a new era at Everton, and Romelu Lukaku is the symbol of the change in mentality for the Toffees.
For several years, Everton has been knocking on the door of the Premier League’s top four, but the Toffees haven’t quite been able to break through.
Under Roberto Martinez, the club finished fifth last season, and secured its best points total in 27 years. In the offseason, rather than sell some of its biggest young stars, the club strengthened, and Lukaku’s 28 million-pound signing could signal a new era of intent at Goodison Park.
The Belgian international impressed on loan for Everton last season, scoring 15 league goals, but his return appeared unlikely due to Chelsea’s massive price tag and a host of suitors across Europe.
However, Everton held off the competition by shelling out a club-record fee to purchase Lukaku. Combined with the signings of Gareth Barry and Muhamed Besic, and the re-signing of young stars John Stones, Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley, the Toffees appear poised to break down the door to the top four in 2014-15.
If Everton is to secure a Champions League spot, Lukaku will have to be an attacking focal point. The 21-year-old had a decidedly mixed performance for Belgium at this summer’s World Cup.MORE: Biggest summer transfers | Soccer's beautiful fans | WAGs
Lukaku was disappointing in Belgium’s first two group games, lasting under 60 minutes before being subbed off in both matches. After losing his starting spot to Divock Origi, Lukaku came off the bench and made his mark in the round of 16 against the USA.
The burly striker assisted Kevin De Bruyne in extra time, then scored what would prove to be the winner in Belgium’s 2-1 win over the USA, putting the Red Devlis in the quarterfinal. Belgium’s run would end with a 1-0 loss to Argentina, with Lukaku unable to provide a spark in a 32-minute substitute appearance.
Long seen as one of Europe’s brightest talents, Lukaku has a chance to further enhance his status and truly become one of the world’s elite strikers this season at Goodison Park. If he does, the new era at Everton will truly be fully underway.