How do Everton transfer targets compare to Romelu Lukaku?

Everton are being linked with potential replacements for Romelu Lukaku, but how do they compare to the free-scoring Belgian international who could join Chelsea?

If reports are to be believed, it is only a matter of time before Romelu Lukaku leaves Everton to sign for Chelsea for a fee in the region of £80m. The Toffees are not keen on selling a player who finished as runner-up to Harry Kane in the Premier League goalscoring charts last season but with just two years remaining on his existing contract, they are in a position where they can only maximise the fee they receive for his signature by selling the 24-year-old during the summer transfer window. It has led to Ronald Koeman looking for potential replacements for the Belgian international, and the three names allegedly being considered by the former Southampton boss are Malaga's Sandro Ramirez, Celtic's Moussa Dembele and Burnley's Andre Gray. The trio all bring different qualities, but how do they match up against a player who has made the number-nine position his own over the past four seasons?

Romelu Lukaku celebrates with Ross Barkley after scoring during the Premier League game between Everton and Burnley on April 15, 2017© SilverHub

As can be found while looking at these Soccer stats, we can view the statistics of each possible incoming but firstly, we will assess the highly impressive return which Lukaku posted in England's top flight during the last campaign. It has been well documented that he netted 25 goals but he was also on hand to provide six assists for his teammates. There is an argument that Lukaku scores his goals in bunches because he managed a four-goal salvo, a hat-trick and three doubles throughout the last campaign as well as twice enduring at least three matches without finding the back of the net, but his shots-per-goal ratio is outstanding, with a goal being registered every 4.32 shots.

It has been widely reported that Ramirez will complete a £5.5m to Everton from Malaga in the coming days, and he has shown during Under-21 Euro 2017 that he is a different kind of frontman to Lukaku. That said, he represented a team who only finished in mid-table in La Liga, and with the striker's infographic above showing that he had more shots on goal during matches and that his pass success rate was considerably higher than Lukaku's, Everton can justify handing the Spaniard a long-term contract to make the move to Merseyside in order to try to improve on the 14 goals and three assists that he contributed from 30 appearances.

Celtic striker Moussa Dembele shoots during his side's 7-0 defeat to Barcelona in a Champions League match at the Camp Nou on September 13, 2016© SilverHub

The signing which would really excite Everton supporters would be that of Dembele, who has established himself as one of the hottest prospects in Europe with an excellent debut year in Scotland. The Glasgow giants took a chance on him after he decided to leave Fulham, but he repaid their faith with 17 goals and six assists from 29 matches. It is a fairly modest total when taking the standard of the league into account, but when you consider that the Frenchman played was on the pitch for just 73% of Celtic's unbeaten league campaign, it gives credibility to the theory that he will progress into one of the best strikers on the continent.

While Ramirez and Dembele both offer similar strike-rates to that of Lukaku, Burnley attacker Gray does not but he should not necessarily be judged on only scoring nine goals in his first year in the Premier League. Due to his versatility and being substituted on 14 occasions by manager Sean Dyche, it left him having to work to a formation which helped his team and him having to make way to defend points during the latter stages of games and unlike Lukaku, Ramirez and Dembele, he rarely had the opportunity to take advantage of tiring defences. Over the course of the season, he also averaged less than two shots on goal per game, which is in stark contrast to the other trio. He probably cannot be regarded as a like-for-like swap for Lukaku, but there is no doubting that should he make the £10m switch from the Clarets, he will have a major part to play in the final third.

Andre Gray in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Burnley on January 2, 2017
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