So, Romelu Lukaku won’t in fact be signing any new contract at Everton… not yet, at least.
We’ve been here before, of course, wringing our collective hands over his future, convinced he’ll be off, only to see him sign permanently, as was the case in 2014, or commit to another season despite significant interest from elsewhere.
This time will probably be different. After all, he has stuck to his end of the bargain he made last year following talks with Ronald Koeman and there are only so many times Lukaku can say he will stick around for just one more year. And, as another 12 months gets lopped off the remainder of his contract, the imperative is greater for Everton to sell and get the best possible price for him rather than risk him running his contract down.
There is scope to weigh the potential value of the player’s goals next season against his diminishing value as he gets deeper into the final two years of his existing deal. Ultimately, though, can Everton afford not to take £60m-plus for him in the next transfer window and risk having a potentially unhappy player on the books if they do dig their heels in?
As disappointing as this latest news is — and it is, massively — it shouldn’t come as a shock. Coming from an agent of Mino Raiola’s repute, the 0.0001% of uncertainty in his recent claims that his client would sign a new five-year deal with Everton may as well have been 50%. You could have driven a 747 through that little sliver of supposed doubt because while it existed, no-one could really be confident the striker would stay.
And it’s not like Lukaku hasn’t been utterly consistent about what he wants — Champions League football — and with him having now racked up his best tally of Premier League goals to date, he clearly feels more than ready. He has already given Everton four years of a career spurred on by ambition but the Toffees have been unable to provide him with the ultimate club football stage that he so vocally craves.
With Ronald Koeman having got the team playing more to his strengths than at any time since Roberto Martinez’s first season in charge, it’s frustrating that he finally looks the part, too. What’s more, it’s ironic that, with Koeman at the helm and Farhad Moshiri backing significant player acquisitions, the team is now back on track towards the common goal of cracking the top four, possibly as early as next season.
And yet, he might not be in place to fire the club into that promised land. With no international tournament this summer to sow doubt into potential suitors’ minds — Lukaku was wholly unconvincing with Belgium at the 2014 World Cup and only marginally better at Euro2016 — this could be the summer where we Blues finally lose the best striker the club has seen in three decades.
Most Evertonians will be gutted to see Lukaku go for that reason alone. Some scorn was poured on the attention given to the fact that he surpassed Duncan Ferguson as Everton’s top goalscorer of the Premier League era; push-back against the Sky Sports-driven focus on the primacy of modern football over what existed prior to 1992.
As a stretch of 25 years, however, the Premier League’s existence comprises a significant period of history and Lukaku’s record simultaneously underlines the dearth of striking talent that Everton have been able to attract in that time and illustrates just how prolific the Belgian has been. In amassing 62 goals, Lukaku has scored at a phenomenal rate, one that eclipses Ferguson’s and has been much more consistent than the likes of Tony Cottee, Kevin Campbell and Yakubu.
What’s worse is that, after receiving plenty of criticism for his work rate, touch and hold-up play, in 2017 he has been better than ever; a player reaching his full potential at a time when an Everton side capable of cracking the hegemony of the established “big six” was re-emerging. All that was missing was a consistent return against the biggest teams in the division. Strikers as deadly and as reliable are like gold dust in the modern game; it’s why his transfer value has mushroomed from the £28m the Blues paid for him three years ago and why he will be so sought-after if he is for sale this summer.
In that sense, Lukaku could be virtually irreplaceable for Everton regardless of how much they get for him. The money would be reinvested in top class players who could potentially share the load in scoring goals but there is a reason why the club reportedly wanted a £90m buyout clause inserted into his contract and were prepared to give him £140,000 a week for five years to keep him. Having scored 40% of the team’s league goals this season and been involved in 54% of them over all, he is vital and worth that much to the Blues.
Of course, if, as has been reported, the buyout clause is the last remaining sticking point, this latest chapter in the Lukaku saga could just be another bargaining tactic by Raiola. Secure a loyalty clause for the player, ensure his own commission, get the trigger price down to a level where the likes of Chelsea, Paris St Germain and, perhaps, Juventus or Borussia Dortmund could entertain a bid, and he has options for his client this summer. Everton would hold plenty of the cards going into the next window but their hand will be weaker if it gets into next season and he still hasn’t either signed new terms or moved on.
There may be an air of inevitability about this latest twist in the Lukaku saga but the timing is perhaps the most frustrating part. Most Evertonians have long since reconciled themselves with the fact that the player hasn’t ever expressed a love for Everton Football Club. As a means first of escaping Chelsea and then as a stepping stone to the Champions League — with the Blues or without — his time at Goodison has always been mostly business, largely devoid of true passion for the club.
That would explain what is an apparent acquiescence to Raiola’s hardball tactics over the buyout clause and a seeming lack of concern that the situation is escalating at an important part of the season when there is still plenty to play for. That aloofness likely won’t compromise his motivation to go out and score as many as he can against Hull this weekend — everything is done in the name of getting closer to realising his ambitions — but it will certainly affect the mood of supporters over the final 10 games of the campaign.
Ultimately, the matter will get sorted out and Everton will move on regardless of the outcome, safer in the knowledge that broader progress is being made on and off the pitch. It’s hard to escape the feeling, though, that we as a club are on the cusp of something here and that, by staying just one more season, Lukaku could help us achieve it.
With the benefit of a full season behind him and an all-important summer transfer window for him and Steve Walsh, Koeman will feel confident that with Romelu spearheading his attack, he could lead a very real charge on the top four next season. Long-term injuries notwithstanding, Lukaku is young and has plenty of time on his side to play at the highest level with one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
To leave Goodison now would feel so much like “unfinished business” on both sides but in the end, que sera, sera — Everton just need to get the best deal either way and push ahead. No player is bigger than the club but few have been as important.
Reader Comments (59)
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1 Posted 14/03/2017 at 20:28:35
2 Posted 14/03/2017 at 20:55:13
Hope, still it's "All in the game", negotiation-wise and he signs... on Friday!
3 Posted 14/03/2017 at 20:56:37
But do Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Barcelona want him? My guess is No. Paris St.Germain look the probable team for him. Mourinho at Man Utd has rejected him twice and doesn't fancy him. Guardiola, Klopp and Pochettino like men who chase and press. That leaves Arsenal and Chelsea.
Arsenal may be interested but are more likely to spend their spare cash on Sanchez's and Ozil's new contracts and hope that Welbeck comes good. Chelsea will prefer Costa so, unless he goes, I can't see them wanting Lukaku.
He may be negotiating and that seems to be how it's done these days, but like many other Everton fans I'm fed up with his threats. If he was as coveted as he imagines he'd have been away by now. But a crap World Cup and a very poor Euros have not exactly sold him to the top clubs of Europe. I suggest a fat contract awaits him in China, but that may be the best he can hope for.
4 Posted 14/03/2017 at 20:59:45
"I'll be at Barcelona next season, Rom. Then I'll sign you, so stall on that new contract and keep it on the down-low."
5 Posted 14/03/2017 at 21:19:13
6 Posted 14/03/2017 at 21:24:39
Interesting to see how the crowd reacts on Saturday!
7 Posted 14/03/2017 at 21:48:40
8 Posted 14/03/2017 at 21:49:24
9 Posted 14/03/2017 at 21:52:37
If he left that way we would have looked like proper mugs. At least this way we are still in the driving seat and have options. Make him stay next year unless we get the cash we want. World Cup year so his levels won't drop too much, then sell for what we can get next summer.
Or if we don't want to play hardball, offer him a 'loyalty payment' £5m to extend for one more year with the lower buyout that can't be invoked till 2018. Depends how much we want him to stay really or if Koeman has someone in mind to replace him.
10 Posted 14/03/2017 at 21:58:34
11 Posted 14/03/2017 at 22:07:23
12 Posted 14/03/2017 at 22:13:04
13 Posted 14/03/2017 at 22:34:23
I still think he will sign a new contract with us.
14 Posted 14/03/2017 at 22:45:39
15 Posted 14/03/2017 at 23:25:40
From my point of view, and I am biased towards us, but I don't see massive investment coming on a scale like Chelsea and Man City did when they wanted to be top dogs. If that's the case, don't blame Lukaku not signing up to him. Hope I'm wrong and we massively invest in players this summer and beyond.
16 Posted 14/03/2017 at 23:26:10
17 Posted 14/03/2017 at 23:38:59
Not beyond the realms of possibility...
18 Posted 14/03/2017 at 23:45:34
At least now the club knows where it stands and can aim to get the sale completed quickly with replacements signed up before the start of the new season. In years gone by the club has been criticised for leaving matters until the summer by which time the room for manoeuvre has become more restricted.
There are no guarantees, of course, but hopefully the sale of Lukaku will not drag on until 31st August by which stage, suitable replacements will no longer be available.
19 Posted 15/03/2017 at 00:43:10
20 Posted 15/03/2017 at 01:02:34
Looking at it from not so much of an anti-Lukaku perspective, perhaps there are 6 teams that are above us that could be doing better if they had Lukaku. I assume that more points for any of those teams would be better, including even Chelsea.
One can only wonder how much more effective and prolific Rom could be with Sanchez, Alli, Jesus, Sterling, Coutinho, etc. playing in support of him. I would guess, an extra 8-10 goals a season, even without takingpenalties like Kane. Of course, given that he would be playing in European competitions, and probably even longer into the domestic competitions, maybe the goals tally would be even higher. Perhaps his goals would be the little bit that is seemingly lacking in getting one of those teams into the semi-finals and finals of the European competitions.
Personally, I would prefer him to stay at Everton, but would only expect it to occur if the club's ambitions elevate to match his own. I take his not signing what is in reality, an extension on an existing contract, to be a direct challenge to Everton's ownership to up its ambition and to walk the walk, instead of just talking the talk.
21 Posted 15/03/2017 at 02:45:58
The player has little regard for the club, past incidents an the leak today tell us that. I understand what he wants, I get it, at 24 and scoring for fun in the Premier League.
Why couldn't he just say it will be settled in the summer? It would at least calm things down on the pitch and now he risks vitriol on Saturday, not that he cares?
What about Koeman and Walsh? Arguably both should have a better handle on the situation. The fact Everton cannot control their players, not just Rom, needs addressing. It smacks of the circus, amateurish.
Moshiri? I, like many swing back on forth on Rom, but it's all a bit much now.
Posted on the other thread, "I wouldn't be surprised to see him back on loan after he ultimately fails the acid test he craves."
That's the nub, a great fit for him and Everton; I have my doubts he succeed in a bigger pond.
22 Posted 15/03/2017 at 05:25:14
23 Posted 15/03/2017 at 05:57:23
24 Posted 15/03/2017 at 06:24:06
Also, this talk about Ron going to Barca... when he actualy wins a trophy with Everton, then maybe but not before. So let's just concentrate on beating Hull and see where we go from there, okay? COYB
25 Posted 15/03/2017 at 07:24:00
If you were Man City, Arsenal or Chelsea, would you fork £60m+ for a player with what can be perceived as a suspect mentality?
26 Posted 15/03/2017 at 07:26:43
These are the games world class players worth £60-80m plus and earning north of £100k a week are expected to perform in. He just doesn't do it against the top sides away from home. I can't recall him scoring that many for us at Chelsea, RS, Man Utd or Arsenal or even putting in a MotM type of performance.
Happy for him to stay and prove me wrong. I would love nothing more than him being the hero on April 1st.
27 Posted 15/03/2017 at 08:59:21
My bet is Man Utd or Chelsea. Most likely the latter seeing as they will have Champions League.
28 Posted 15/03/2017 at 09:21:17
I take it that you want him to go!!
29 Posted 15/03/2017 at 10:21:12
I think we will double our money on Rom and we've done well to keep him as long as we have. Top goal scorers tend to move to the top teams where they can win things. We saw this with Rooney and Suarez recently and it's always been the way.
For people to say he shows no loyalty or love for the club is crazy. He will only be a top striker for a limited amount of years and he has to put his own ambitions first. He's not even from England.
30 Posted 15/03/2017 at 10:40:21
I want him to stay but I want him to also perform in the 'big' away games to get us into the Champions League.
31 Posted 15/03/2017 at 12:37:18
A release clause of £90m is unrealistic, if that is what's held up him signing a new deal.
Surely some middle ground can be found?
32 Posted 15/03/2017 at 13:12:24
Even if a club offered over £70M for him, it's possible that the Board decides that the value to the club of keeping him full for the duration of the current contract, is higher than the potential loss of a high transfer offer. The ball is in Everton's court as regards whether he'll still be here after this summer.
33 Posted 15/03/2017 at 13:30:09
Nothing wrong with ambition but don't hang it out there, if asked, that the club you currently play for, and the fans you play in front of each week, aren't good enough for you.
34 Posted 15/03/2017 at 13:32:55
I guess Koeman will also be asked has he had any contact with Arsenal or Barca.
35 Posted 15/03/2017 at 14:28:10
If he were to leave, let's use it as an opportunity. I would like us to consider Iheanacho, Alcacer and Dolberg plus Calvert-Lewin and even, just maybe Niasse. All young strikers who can improve but have the ability to score (Niasse excluded) and some real competition for that front spot. It'd make a big difference to our current state of no competition for that position in the squad and hence the player having all the power.
Somehow all the people I'm doing charity work with in Pakistan have heard about this. The EPL is truly global.
36 Posted 15/03/2017 at 15:32:27
I think its sad that Lukaku may well be leaving but I'm not surprised or angry with him. At least he's stuck around longer than Stones did or indeed Rooney!! The last thing I want is for the crowd to boo him on Saturday if he is leaving, surely we want a good return on the last 10 games.
37 Posted 15/03/2017 at 15:59:12
People can be so gullible and easily led by the media. And any who do produce a negative response on Saturday, particularly booing, do not deserve any 'new era' or success of any kind from this great club.
38 Posted 15/03/2017 at 16:15:34
Evertonians are not a band of people who all think the same way, they are a diverse group who have different views on all aspects of life and that is shown by the variety of views on this thread and others.
The situation doesn't change, whether or not he signs a new contract; he wants to leave for 'bigger' and 'better', he's always wanted to leave since he first arrived and no amount of cash thrown at him by Everton FC will alter that situation.
We'll miss his goals and it will be an expensive job to try and replace him, but either by altering the way the team plays or being lucky in who we bring in, Everton FC will have to replace him at some point in time and that looks as if it will be sooner rather than later.
If his moving on leads to more of our 'stars' wanting to move, such as Ross or Gueye, then we are in for yet another rebuilding project and another two years in the relative wilderness. Let's hope the management team are able to bring in the right quality of players and quickly that's of course if the management team don't decide to jump ship too.
39 Posted 15/03/2017 at 16:22:33
"I'll be very surprised if Rom gets booed on Saturday if he does it will only be by a small section of the crowd".
My feeling, too.
40 Posted 15/03/2017 at 16:41:03
We've all known for years (although we hoped he could eventually be turned to actually care for the club) that he's just a mercenary whose heart will never be with Everton, so I'm happy with him improving his skills with us and hopefully providing us with both better league positions and a hefty transfer sum at the end if he actually goes.
The little, vengeful boy within me screams to bench him and let our youth have a chance for the rest of the season! The mature part of me says we've seen it all before in modern football, so for now he's ours until the fat lady sings her last aria and we have either a new talent in place, or a hefty transfer sum to purchase one. This season + two more years on the current contract, after all...
He's too aware of his need to keep up doing good to lay down his tools if we don't find a way to make him sign a new contract, even if he really wants to leave!
41 Posted 15/03/2017 at 16:41:04
Maybe the player's being unreasonable.
Maybe his agent has been disingenuous (no shit).
Maybe the club has mishandled the situation, increasing the chances of him leaving.
Maybe it's a combination of all of the above plus more besides. The thing is... we don't know, do we?
42 Posted 15/03/2017 at 16:45:30
Nor does it really feel like the timing is his fault. If he's got a contract in front of him and the club asking him to sign it or not; then he's got to say a yes or a no at some point. If he doesn't feel like it's the right contract for him then obviously he has to say no. It's somewhat self inflicted on our part to have the contract in front of him two thirds of the way through the season.
And please stop with the "he's not that good", "he never does it when it matters" bullshit, it's embarrassing.
43 Posted 15/03/2017 at 17:04:02
Yes, it's as if we've lost track of the fact that it's just a breakdown in negotiations. The media (and the comments of our more excitable fellows...) make it all seem like a total snub of EFC. I think the original report just said he would not sign the current contract proposal.
I'd prefer it if we could keep him for another year, at least, and so I still hope we'll finish in a position where he'll see us as his best position for showcasing his talents for another year, at least.
44 Posted 15/03/2017 at 17:08:37
The report in today's Guardian simply sates that he was approached after a training session and asked if he had signed the contract, answer No. He was also asked if talks were ongoing to which he also said no, that was it.
I'm in 2 minds over this. Every few months this is shoved down our throats; like with Stones, we all know he'll leave. Maybe it would be better to get rid this summer for a wad of cash and get two new strikers.
45 Posted 15/03/2017 at 17:32:37
Every player of his calibre wants to play for a 'big club'. Well, we're supposed to be getting 'bigger', and by next season or the one after we could well be competing in the Champions League. So even if Lukaku were desperate to play in the Champions League, it's readily foreseeable that he can achieve that with us.
As I've said before, his value to the club over the next two years could be considered (by the Board) to be greater than any transfer fee likely to be offered by another 'big' club, and that could influence Everton deciding he's going nowhere before July 2019, regardless of whether he signs a new contract.
Every time there's a press report about Lukaku, there's a knee-jerk reaction, including on TW. Yes, we all have opinions, many different ones, but it's useful to highlight the facts amongst the plethora of opinions.
46 Posted 15/03/2017 at 17:39:13
The people that have leverage in this situation are Lukaku and his agent. If Lukaku doesn't want to sign an extension, Everton FC are in the position of keeping a player that really doesn't want to be in the squad and that's not a good situation. If Lukaku doesn't sign an extension, he'll have 2 years left on his contract (and time would start ticking away towards 1 year left of his contract).
It will be interesting this summer to see which team(s) are willing to pay fair market value for Lukaku. If there are no suitors, then I assume Lukaku might stay and sign an extension... but I think there will be offer(s) for his services especially since he counts as a homegrown player in the EPL.
47 Posted 15/03/2017 at 18:02:04
48 Posted 15/03/2017 at 18:05:47
We have known for years that his heart is not here and there was a major risk to our league placing if he got injured and we have failed to bring in any competition/replacement for his place.
If we were truly ambitious, we would have ensured we got Gabbiadini or Slimani or at least that quality of player.
Just as worrying is the cover for left back.
49 Posted 15/03/2017 at 18:17:02
Perhaps you could enlighten me with these facts that you mention. I certainly don't know any facts about Lukaku's contract situation. I certainly have no idea about what Rom's value is to the board of directors. I can do what most of us do on here and speculate but I could be a million miles out with my conclusions.
50 Posted 15/03/2017 at 18:35:24
51 Posted 15/03/2017 at 19:06:05
If so, I hope Lukaku keeps his sense, help push for the 4th place and sign a new contract. We can only speculate for now. Let's just move to the next game, COYB.
52 Posted 15/03/2017 at 19:09:24
53 Posted 15/03/2017 at 19:15:30
My own feeling is that Rom is just too good for a Europa league standard club like Everton and that he probably needs to leave to fulfil his potential. We'll survive and possibly play better football when no so reliant on the big man.
I rate him very highly and can see him becoming the very best; he would go with my blessings and best wishes and thanks for having joined us for a while on our own journey to success which will happen with or without Rom but at different rates.
54 Posted 15/03/2017 at 19:31:30
55 Posted 15/03/2017 at 19:34:55
My frustration is that Moshiri has retained the amateurs Bill and Ben to negotiate player contracts. Let's face it, Boys Pen Bill has plenty of form on being a long-winded, tight-arsed, penny-pinching negotiator.
56 Posted 15/03/2017 at 19:49:17
The day is ours to make, with this team on Saturday. The first time in donkey years and some rays of hope for Everton, and as is likely when there's hope on the horizon for EFC, there's some incoming scuds and crap to fend off and smooth out.
Life is good but too short, so let's focus on the club and focus on Saturday. The gutter press (and that is most of the national press) are not worth getting stoked up for.
Who knows what's gonna happen with Rom, but let's focus on what we can influence, beat Hull, enjoy the break and them next two games..
57 Posted 15/03/2017 at 21:44:26
58 Posted 16/03/2017 at 09:14:45
There is then most probably confirmation of interest from one of the usual suspects but who don't want to pay what would be around ?80mil for the hottest young proven forward in the Premier League.
They know that, to get that fee down, they need to get a much lower trigger fee in the new contract that interested clubs would then be willing to pay. (£50 mil seems the price being pushed by the media, ex-players etc.)
Lukaku then uses his usual trick of a snide interview abroad to get the process started and the ensuing full scale onslaught from the media to put pressure on our club.
Next day comes his side of the story portraying the club as unambitious, not interested in winning etc etc. This then deflects any criticism that he would have got from fans and puts all the negativity onto the club.
This man has been paid handsomely by the club and given him the platform, coaching and support to get him to a place where he is now attracting the attention of Champions League teams. He has continually ridiculed this club, hindering our attempts to move forward and now yet again has us plastered all over the media as a small time club which may again prevent us from signing the players we want in the Summer.
We have tried to sign players, Sissoko switched his phone off, Bolasie was signed apparently on the advice of Lukaku, £31 million spent in the January window, so sorry but lack of signings doesn't wash with me.
All above is conjecture, but I would believe this more than poor Lukaku loving the club and fans but being let down by the club.
59 Posted 17/03/2017 at 19:54:43
To quote as dubious a character as Roms agent, I'II lay this one on yer,
" Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones."
Like everything to do with Everton.... clear as mud.
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