Writing in the Sunday Times ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League outing against Manchester City on Sunday, Liverpool great Graeme Souness insisted that the Gunners were just two signings away from being potential Premier League winners.
The former Scottish midfielder—who won three European Cups during his time on Merseyside—recommended that Arsene Wenger sign an upgrade on centre-back Per Mertesacker, as well as a world-class goalscorer, with the Sky Sports pundit name-checking Everton’s Romelu Lukaku as the ideal fit for the North Londoners.
It’s hard to deny that the Belgian forward has demonstrated that he has the quality to be an appealing prospect for the top clubs this season, even if he was offloaded by Chelsea.
Despite Everton’s listless campaign, the powerful attacker has bagged 18 goals in 35 outings for the Toffees, and would surely be an ideal alternative to the unconvincing Olivier Giroud.
However, if Arsenal consider a move for the forward, wouldn’t it be worth Liverpool taking a look too, particularly if they have the clout of the Champions League to call upon?
The Reds have also struggled to find an able frontman during the course of the campaign, with Jurgen Klopp assessing various options since replacing Brendan Rodgers in October.
Christian Benteke, signed at great expense from Aston Villa last summer, clearly isn’t trusted by the German coach, and it would surprise few if he left at the end of the season.
Daniel Sturridge has demonstrated his class in recent weeks, but his patchy fitness record means that he’d be a risky pick to lead Liverpool’s line next season, particularly should the Reds be looking to compete on multiple fronts.
Lukaku’s Belgian teammate Divock Origi and—before his injury—Danny Ings have both shown promise, but they would surely be more suitable for supporting roles rather than a spot as a leading man.
If Klopp really wants to take Liverpool back to where the fans feel they belong, he surely needs to recruit another elite forward, particularly if the Reds manage to snatch a spot in the Champions League group stage by virtue of their performance in the Europa League.
If they can return to the UCL, and with Klopp’s cult of personality an appetising allure, then they will surely be keen to begin competing for the truly elite players once again.
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22-year-old Lukaku falls into that category, and while the Merseysiders would likely need to see off some heavyweight competition to recruit the hitman, he possesses the kind of profile that will surely appeal to the manager and the club’s fans.
Finally, while some may baulk at the prospect of Lukaku crossing Stanley Park, ditching the blue half of Merseyside for the red, remember, there’s a considerable tradition of players trading places across the city.
Nicky Barmby, Peter Beardsley, Abel Xavier and the late Gary Ablett are just some players who represented both clubs, and would it be so unthinkable for Lukaku to join that list?