Ademola Lookman shows Leicester what they’re missing, as forward betters goalscoring record from last four clubs with new side Atalanta
Ademola Lookman is finally showing his full potential, the winger enjoying a very productive season at Serie A club Atalanta.
After his rapid rise through Charlton’s Under-18s and Under-21s and into the first team, the Wandsworth-born star looked set to become English football’s next big star.
Lookman adapted to championship football with a startling pace, scoring five goals in his debut season with the Addicks in 2015–16 and scoring another five goals in the first half of the following season.
His performances caught the attention of Premier League Everton and in January 2017 the Toffees signed him for £7.5million, rising to £11million with add-ons on a four-and-a-half year contract.
In the 90th minute of the Toffees’ 3-0 win over Manchester City, Lookman immediately proved his worth when he scored to make it 4-0. He then secured a place in the Europa League squad as well.
However, after not having consistent playing time, he was loaned out to RB Leipzig at the start of the 2017/18 season and eventually made a permanent move there in 2019.
However, the youngster faced the same fate in the Bundesliga and was twice loaned to the Premier League, first scoring four goals for Fulham – which also resulted in his embarrassingly missing a penalty from Panenka – and then eight for Leicester in the past season .
The Foxes missed out on signing him in the summer and Lookman is now thriving in the way fans expected at the start of his career at Serie A club Atalanta.
Chelsea confident of completing £105m deal with Fernandez, Everton make £45m Gallagher offer
Atalanta is the answer
While it would have cost Leicester just £12.5million to bring Lookman back to King Power Stadium on a permanent deal, they couldn’t seem to afford him.
Now Lookman – who would have been perfect competition for Harvey Barnes at Leicester – is showing the foxes what they’re missing.
After Atalanta’s disappointing eighth-place finish in Serie A last season, which saw them miss out on places in European football, Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers, former head of recruitment Lee Congerton, brought Lookman to the club.
Since joining, the 25-year-old has scored more league goals than in his entire tenure at his last four clubs. He scored 12 in just 19 games compared to the 11 he has scored since joining Everton.
Only Napoli’s Victor Osimhen has scored more goals in Serie A this season and Lookman has also added two more goals in the Italian Cup, as well as four assists in all competitions.
Lookman has scored 14 goals this season, seven of them in his last four games, two of them against Italian giants Juventus. He scored his last goal on Sunday night against the ailing Sampdoria to double his side’s lead.
The Nigeria international had received the ball straight from the opposing team’s half before beating his man to run into the box, pausing quickly and then finally pulling the trigger to nutmeg another defender and finish in the bottom left corner .
Those goals have also paid off as Atalanta have moved up to fourth place in Serie A – their last qualifying spot for the Champions League.
“We got three points, that’s the most important thing. We keep fighting, keep working hard,” Lookman told Sky Sports Italia after the game.
“We’re going game by game. We got three points, we have another Coppa Italia game on Tuesday and yes, we just keep fighting.
“Yes! Of course I expected it [to make an impact]. It may come as a surprise to you, but I know what I can bring, I know what I can do. The team is the most important thing.”
When asked how he managed to have such a good scoring streak, he added: “Different circumstances, different scenarios that made me who I am today and that’s who I am as a whole person.
“I think I’m in the right moment, doing the right things, I stay disciplined in what I do.”
What losing the Premier League is, it seems, is winning Serie A. Leicester boss Rodgers will wish he had that firepower up front now, that’s for sure.