Had Dodi Lukebakio not scored a hat-trick against Bayern Munich in November then he wouldn’t have been in the German media half as much as he has since.
Without those goals he has six in the Bundesliga this season, and he’s only found the back of the net twice in 2019.
In the DFB Pokal, the Watford owned player has a further four goals, which came against TuS RW Koblenz and Ulm. Who? Exactly.
But the fact remains that Lukebakio did score those goals against Bayern, and did so at 21 years of age. The hype became so big afterwards that he was even linked to the German champions themselves.
There’s clearly talent in the youngster, and he knows it.
Not long after the hat-trick, Bild said the player’s ‘extremely strong self esteem’ had made the Fortuna dressing room a little unsure at first. He also struggled to get used to ‘German timekeeping’ and was dropped from the squad on one occasion after being late for a meeting.
The club’s captain Oliver Fink said it was an arm-around-the-shoulder situation: “I just like the guy with his style. Dodi needs a bit of affection, a little bit of understanding. With his self-confidence, he can play football incredibly well. I knew the boy could be very important for us.”
In December, manager Friedhelm Funkel was unhappy with his attacker’s behaviour and slammed the Belgian for his antics during a match against Werder Bermen.
“This has nothing to do with football. He provokes opponents, fans and referees. I will not let it go. He’s a young player who is much over-hyped and still has a lot to learn, including how to behave in a different way on the pitch.”
In February, the player said: “When I was in England, there were a few training sessions where teammates congratulated me at the end and were sure I’d make the team. In the end, I wasn’t even in the squad. How frustrating! I wanted to play so much, but wasn’t given a chance. At that point, you snap: you don’t want to work anymore.
“It was too much for me. Thankfully, that’s also where I told myself that wherever I ended up next year, I’ll prove my worth. What I want to do is play. I’ve found that happiness today. It had been so long since I’d known it.”
So what do Watford do? They could give Lukebakio a whirl in the Premier League, but with that comes the risk of unbalancing Javi Gracia’s Hornets harmony. If he wasn’t getting many minutes, which would be an entirely plausible scenario at first, there would likely be trouble.
SportBild believe the club have already decided, and claim Watford ‘want to make cash’ from the player. ‘Around €25m’ is put as the potential value of a deal, and it’s stated Schalke and RB Leipzig are interested.