Everton have completed the signing of Charlton youngster Ademola Lookman in a £10million deal.
The 19-year-old, who made 49 appearances for Charlton after coming through the club’s youth set-up, has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract which will keep him at Goodison Park until the summer of 2021.
Charlton had been keen for Lookman to remain at The Valley on loan for the rest of the season, but Everton boss Ronald Koeman wants his new recruit to be involved with his first team squad.
The Toffees saw off interest from Crystal Palace to secure a deal for Lookman, which makes him the most expensive player ever signed from a League One club, ahead of Fabian Delph and Nick Powell.
Lookman is delighted to have made the move and believes working under Koeman is exactly what he needs to further his career as he makes the step up to the Premier League.
He said: ‘It feels great to be an Everton player.
‘As soon as I heard about Everton’s interest I knew this would be the right place for me.
‘Everton has a big history and I was also attracted by the manager.
‘When you look at what he did at Southampton, and what he does with young players in terms of developing them, that was a big attraction.
‘It was great playing in the Championship last season and for the last six months in League One but I feel like I’m ready to make the step up to the Premier League.’
Lookman scored seven times in 25 appearances for Charlton this season, with Koeman excited to have the talented youngster at his disposal.
The Dutchman said: ‘Ademola is a big talent and, at 19 years old, he has a big future in the game. I’m really happy that we’ve been able to bring him here to the club.
‘This is part of the vision we have for the club and it’s important to give to young players the opportunity so that the team continues to evolve and improve.
‘We believe in the player and in the development of the player which, of course, will take time but he will have a big part to play in the future of the club.’
Lookman, who prefers to be known as ‘Mola’, will wear the No 31 shirt at Goodison. He will not be available to make his debut against Leicester in the FA Cup, though, given he is cup tied after playing for Charlton earlier in this year’s competition.
WHO IS ADEMOLA LOOKMAN?
Sportsmail’s Sami Mokbel takes a look at Everton’s new signing
Ademola Lookman? Sounds familiar…
Indeed. Despite the fact this is his first full season as a professional, Lookman has carved out quite a reputation for himself in such a short space of time.
Arsenal and Crystal Palace have both watched the exciting 19-year-old forward on a regular basis since his breakthrough into the Charlton first-team. Palace made a big play for him in the summer but couldn’t agree a deal.
So, six months later, Everton are the beneficiaries. Quite a coup for the Toffees.
So quite a rapid rise to fame then?
Absolutely. Particularly considering he’s not been involved within the academy system since an early age.
He only joined the Charlton youth set-up in 2014, joining from south London-based amateur side Waterloo FC. But an impressive goal record for the Addicks’ Under 18 and U21 sides saw him make a meteoric rise into the senior set-up.
He made his first-team bow, as an 18-year-old, against MK Dons in November last year. His first goal arrived in a 3-2 defeat at Brighton a month later. Lookman hasn’t looked back since.
Before joining the Charlton youth system, Lookman played for Waterloo FC in London
So he’s a late bloomer then?
You could say that. Lookman’s suffered his fair share of setbacks en route to the Premier League.
He had a failed trial at Brighton as he toiled for a route into professional football. But his big break arrived playing for the London FA… against Charlton.
His performance was good enough to earn a trial with the Addicks and the rest is history.
Eighteen months later he was picking up the prestigious Football League Championship Apprentice of the Year award. Quite a rise.
So what sort of player is he?
First and foremost he’s an electrifying winger able conjure up threatening moments from nothing. His pace and power are his biggest attributes.
He looks capable of causing even the most experienced Premier League full-backs problems. His final ball needs work, but you can say that about players 10 years older than Lookman. And at 19, there’s the capacity to improve his end product.
Similarly, at 5ft 8ins it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with the physicality of life in the top flight. But, having said that, he’s dealt with the rough and tumble of the Football League so he can certainly handle himself.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman, though, may need Lookman to hit the ground running with wide-man Yannick Bolasie out for the rest of the season. It could be a baptism of fire for the teenager.
With Yannick Bolasie out injured, Koeman may need Lookman to hit the ground running
An England star in the making then?
Potentially. Certainly if he continues progressing at the rate he is at the moment.
He’s already on the Football Association’s radar. He’s already been capped for England Under 19 and Under 20’s.
His pending move to Goodison Park will thrust him into the limelight even more. The next step for Lookman is to break into the England Under-21 team but after that, who knows.