Everton line up Dutch hotshot as potential Lukaku replacement

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One inevitability of a mid-tier Premier League club performing well during a season is the better players in that side being eyed up by bigger fish.

How that club adapts to losing their stars to the bright lights of Champions League football is therefore key to maintaining consistent results.

Of all the impressive outsiders to have threatened the division’s inner circle, Everton have perhaps replaced more leading lights than any other.

The Toffees have largely remained a top-eight staple over the last 12 years, despite losing key performers like Marouane Fellaini, Jack Rodwell, Mikel Arteta and Joleon Lescott to top-four challengers in that time.

Although the last two campaigns have seen the Goodison Park outfit regress in their league standing, finishing 11th last season and sitting 12th through 30 games this term, an exciting crop of young talent hints that the club’s future is bright.

Such a positive outlook would only remain should the club keep hold of those players this summer and Romelu Lukaku’s recent mutterings of wanting Champions League football pose a threat to that plan.

Practiced rollers with such body blows, Everton already appear prepared for their Belgian striker’s departure, with transfer rumours linking them with Dutch forward Vincent Janssen emerging on Monday morning.

Viewers of England’s recent friendly with the Netherlands will know Janssen as the man that scored and assisted the two goals that downed Roy Hodgson’s men 2-1 at Wembley.

His appearance in that game was a reward for a fine domestic season, one which has been a part of the 21-year-old’s rapid ascent up the Dutch footballing ladder. Think of him as Oranje’s own Jamie Vardy, just without the Hollywood film and non-league beginnings.

Last season, Janssen was playing second-tier football in his homeland, turning out for Almere City having signed for them from Feyenoord’s youth team in 2013.

His 19 goals propelled the Flevoland club into the promotion play-offs. They failed in their bid to reach the Eredivisie, but Janssen was able to reach the promised land by signing for AZ Alkmaar that summer.

He has since plundered 20 strikes in his debut league season for the Cheeseheads, adding one more in the KNVB Cup and another two in the Europa League.

While those returns have drawn comparisons to former Dutch scoring phenomenon Ruud van Nistelrooy, they also align with the feats of Lukaku – who has notched 18 times in the top flight this season.

Sharing a similar physical presence to the Belgian means Janssen would be an ideal plug-and-play replacement for the Toffees should they sell their current line leader.

Janssen’s current market value, as listed on Transfermarkt, is a measly £2.25m. With fees of around £50m being touted as the price for Lukaku, Everton could nab a like-for-like alternative to the former Chelsea star at a massive net profit.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.