LUKAKU DROPS A BOMB­SHELL

Ever­ton striker re­jects new con­tract at Good­i­son Park

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON

No talks are planned but the club stance is that they will do their best to per­suade him to change his mind.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, the Bel­gium in­ter­na­tional has never said that he saw the peak years of his ca­reer at Good­i­son Park. When he scored against Sun­der­land on Feb 25, he re­fused to dis­cuss his fu­ture.

His de­ci­sion to pull out of any fur­ther talks has noth­ing to do with money — it is all to do with him not want­ing to ap­pear disin­gen­u­ous.

Lukaku has been open about his am­bi­tions to play in the Cham­pi­ons League and com­pete for the top prizes, and this stun­ning twist is likely to lead to a stam­pede for his sig­na­ture.

Chelsea were keen to bring him back when Antonio Conte ar­rived last sum­mer but they never made an of­fi­cial bid, with Ever­ton let­ting it be known that they val­ued him at £65 mil­lion.

Ever­ton will look for a fee sig­nif­i­cantly in ex­cess of that fig­ure if Lukaku leaves.

His for­mer club will be in­ter­ested again with Diego Costa’s

Daily Mail fu­ture un­clear. Lukaku would be happy to re­turn to the club who took him to Eng­land from An­der­lecht six years ago.

Manch­ester United will also be a firm op­tion. Raiola over­saw the trans­fers of Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic, Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan and Paul Pogba, and Lukaku, con­trary to some per­cep­tions, would not be against a reunion with Jose Mour­inho.

Mour­inho sanc­tioned Lukaku’s £28 mil­lion sale to Ever­ton in July 2014 but there is no lin­ger­ing an­i­mos­ity as Lukaku ex­plained dur­ing an in­ter­view in De­cem­ber 2015 that he ‘knows what he did for me’ at Chelsea. Pogba is also a close friend of Lukaku.

Ju­ven­tus and Paris Saint-Ger­main will also be in­ter­ested af­ter his de­ci­sion to leave — one that will dis­may sup­port­ers and de­flate man­ager Ron­ald Koe­man.

Dur­ing Euro 2016, Koe­man con­vinced Lukaku to stay. The No 10 is hav­ing a pro­lific sea­son, scor­ing 11 goals in his last 12 games.

He re­cently over­took Dun­can Fer­gu­son as Ever­ton’s lead­ing scorer in the Premier League and is the league’s joint-top scorer on 19 goals along­side Tot­ten­ham’s Harry Kane. Daily Mail

Romelu Lukaku

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