Tall, powerful and with a surprising turn of pace, Romelu Lukaku appears to have all the necessary attributes to become the next Alan Shearer.
The only problem at present seems to be his rather glaring lack of goals in the Premier League so far this term, with the Belgian banging in just seven top-flight strikes this season in a return that is unlikely to have the Match of the Day pundit worried any time soon.
But, as with the Toffees’ season in general, it’s proving to be an altogether different story in the Europa League.
Boosted from 9/2 to 11/2 with Ladbrokes to open the scoring against Dynamo Kiev at Goodison Park, the 21-year-old appears to be at home in continental competition this season.
More importantly, he looks on course to imitate Shearer’s best ever campaign in the competition.
The Newcastle legend finished top scorer in the Europa League – then known as the UEFA Cup – in back to back seasons from 2003 to 2005 scoring six goals and a further 11 across two campaigns.
Lukaku currently leads the way in this season’s scoring charts, having netted six goals in the competition already this season.
That tally puts him level with three other strikers – Red Bull Salzburg’s Jonathan Soriano, Stefanos Athanasiadis of PAOK and Guillaume Hoarau of Young Boys.
However, will all three of these teams already eliminated, the Belgian’s biggest obstacle to Golden Boot glory could be another lesser known Newcastle hero.
Demba Ba has scored five goals in the Europa League already this season and with a tie against Club Brugge – one of the weakest sides in the tournament – to come, he could be the man to steal Lukaku’s glory.
Having previously departed Chelsea in search of first-team football and the opportunity to impress on a bigger stage, Lukaku’s first test will come against the Ukrainian giants.
Score and he could move a small step closer to becoming the next Shearer but underwhelm and he could end up being more like Francis Jeffers.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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