Former Everton midfielder Leon Osman believes that Ronald Koeman will suffer from selling Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United this season.
The Toffees sold Lukaku to Jose Mourinho for £75m back in July – the biggest sum the club has ever received for a player – and the Belgian has made a storming start to life at Old Trafford, claiming six goals in as many games.
And Everton, in turn, have struggled for potency in front of goal; they have only managed two goals in the Premier League – a total doubled by their former striker at this stage of the season.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Osman feared that his former club will struggle to offer the same threat going forward without the ebullient 24-year-old leading the line.
“As a squad I think Everton are stronger but when you take someone like Lukaku out of the team you are always going to struggle to replace that and Everton didn’t replace it at all,” he said.
“I think Ronald Koeman will say he’s got a squad in the making, a team that’s developing but he is a number nine away from having a top class team.”
Koeman has assembled a hugely promising squad over the summer: Davy Klassen, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford, Sandro Ramirez, Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Siggurdson could create the groundwork for a fluid, dynamic outfit, but they have so far lacked the sticking point – that final product – at the masthead of attack to bring it all together.
This is what Lukaku provides in abundance and Ramirez, Rooney or Dominic Calvert-Lewin have so far failed to serve as adequate replacements.
How, after all, can you replace a player of Lukaku’s natural brilliance?