Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley are arguably the most important players in 2017 for Everton. The club are facing the ever-increasing prospect of losing them both in the summer, as their contracts have a worrying amount of time left to run. The chances of them both signing are looking increasingly remote.
Which one will be the bigger miss for the club is up for debate. Lukaku is clearly the better player, but would command a much higher transfer fee and isn’t a local lad. With just a year left on his contract, the transfer fee for Barkley would be relatively small and we’d be losing a man who could be pivotal to our club. And having a Scouser in the team as we go through the exciting period.
I’d be more upset about losing Barkley. I think that’s in part due to expecting to lose Lukaku ever since the the day he signed. We only ever seemed like a step onto something else and that’s only what Lukaku ever saw us as. I do believe he would love the club to be challenging for trophies and would be happy to stay if we were, but that’s a few years off at the least. Barkley on the other hand is a local player who could grow with the club and have that dream on him lifting a trophy in a royal blue shirt come true.
Lukaku is replaceable, Barkley isn’t
Lukaku is replaceable in the sense of the fact that we could use the money from the sale to build a better squad, and as we improve over the next few years we’d be more and more of an exciting prospect to any top players. We wouldn’t be able to get a striker as good immediately, but we should be able to in a few years. In the meantime we’d have a stronger team all round.
Barkley is irreplaceable in the sense that fans of all clubs love having as many local players in the team as possible. Everton fans love the interplay between Davies and Barkley because it’s between two Evertonians who love playing football. You can’t buy a talented young Evertonian, they have to come through the academy. Watching Barkley play for another club would be a lot more difficult to watch than watching Lukaku play for another team.
Them both leaving would be a huge blow, but one that the club would be able to recover from given the transfer fees that would be received. We’d rather not of course, but hopefully out Director of Football and Manager will already be planning for life after them them, just in case.
With Barkley this summer it’s a case of sign or leave, we won’t let him go for free and he only has one season left on his contract. With Lukaku it’s a case of seeing if we can wait it out for another season, with two years left the club may hope that no clubs come in and we get another season before seeing if the situation has changed.
Could we be left with a better team?
We hope that neither will leave, but that seems very unlikely at this point. I still think Barkley will sign but my confidence is ebbing away each day. Everton will recover whatever happens. After Rooney was sold I, and many others, thought we’d be relegated. His sale allowed Moyes to build a team and an incredible team spirit. We didn’t get relegated, we finished 4th. Neither Barkley or Lukaku is critical to our long-term success and even if we lost them both this summer, we may well end up with a better team, and a better team spirit, at the end of it.