Having spent £28 million on Romelu Lukaku, Everton may have been expecting slightly more than four Premier League goals in 16 outings from their record signing.
A man who first set the top-flight alight during a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion, and replicated those heroics at Goodison Park last season, has been a shadow of his former self during the opening weeks of the 2014/15 campaign.
Lukaku was short of his buccaneering best at the 2014 World Cup finals and has struggled to get going since returning from Brazil, with lengthy transfer negotiations with former employers Chelsea and niggling injury problems hindering his progress.
Everton remain confident, though, that the Belgium international will come good and justify their decision to break the bank in order to secure his services on a permanent basis.
Manager Roberto Martinez said in The Liverpool Echo: “I think Rom is going to hit his best levels in January. Then I think he’s capable of maintaining it until the end of May. I’m happy with his attitude and the way he works. He knows the responsibility he has for us and brings a lot of desire.
“He is so unpredictable with his type of play. He can be strong and powerful. He can hold the ball up well. Against Lille he was very sharp and penetrating and his link-up in the final third was really good.
“We’ve got good attacking options. I think Christian Atsu will be an important player for us in second half of the season. Kevin Mirallas will be back from injury soon. It’s important everyone is ready to help us on the pitch and the attitude has been perfect so far.”
Has Lukaku offered enough to justify this show of faith?
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Everton will point to the fact that their big-money buy, for all the talk of faltering form, remains their joint-top Premier League marksman and the man most likely to provide their attacking spark.
They will also be quick to brush aside three squandered ‘big chances’ and argue that Lukaku is at least getting himself into positions to score goals.
Martinez also have every right to believe that there are a couple more gears for Lukaku to move through over the second half of the season.
It would take a brave man to bet against a forward blessed with such power and pace to ignite at some stage, with defenders set to tire as winter takes hold and the games start to stack up.
Lukaku has made himself a marked man with his efforts in the recent past, and has seen expectation levels rise as a result, but he is still only 21 years of age and has the potential to make 2015 a sticky year for the Toffees’ rivals.