Is the End Nigh for a Patient Courtship?

Are the various noises coming out of Goodison Park from manager, players and recruitment staff alike a signal that the chase for Lukaku is approaching a successful conclusion?

Lyndon Lloyd 26/07/2014 37comments  |  Jump to last
As the pieces start falling into place on the transfer front with the imminent unveiling of Muhamed Besic as Everton's newest player, work continues on trying to land Roberto Martinez's top target of the summer, Romelu Lukaku.

The Blues' boss has been quite open about his admiration for the Belgian and his desire to bring him back to Goodison Park on a permanent basis but he has been forced to be patient while the player was involved in the World Cup and then because of his post-Brazil holiday, during which time he will decide his future.

Lukaku is back in Belgium finishing his time off and training at his old club, Anderlecht, in order to keep himself fit but Chelsea expect him to report for pre-season at their training camp in Austria next Thursday.

In the meantime, media speculation continues to swirl in the vaccuum of any hint as to where the 21 year-old will be playing next season. Links with Real Madrid and Juventus appear to have little substance, while Wolfsburg's director of football was forced to publicly deny via Bild today that the Bundesliga club have submitted a 28m bid for Lukaku. That followed a tweet by a little-known journalist based in Montreal which appeared to be source behind more substantial reports in the German media that the striker could be bound for the Volswagen Arena.

Suggestions in the English press that rival domestic suitors like Newcastle United and Tottenham have little chance of tempting Lukaku their way while Atletico Madrid, at one time his most likely destination again, if speculation was to be believed appear to have faded from the picture following their acquisition of Mario Mandzukic.

All of that would appear to leave Lukaku with a choice between staying at Stamford Bridge, where the opportunity of Champions League football exists but where he will have to battle Diego Costa, Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba for regular first-team appearances on the one hands, and making a permanent switch to Everton where he will be the focal point of a team managed by an unabashed fan in Martinez on the other.

That is, of course, if Jose Mourinho even wants him. The Mirror claim that Chelsea have told Lukaku he can leave now that Drogba has agreed to return and the true nature of the pair's relationship has ever really been definitively nailed down.

Sources suggest that, privately, the Blues are hopeful that Lukaku will choose the opportunity for hero status at Everton over an uncertain future at Chelsea and Martinez's quip to supporters at the team's training session in Thailand today that "of course we'll get him" would seem to back that up.

So, too, would comments made to talkSPORT by the club's head of recruitment, Ian Atkins, this evening in which he expressed his hopes that Everton could win the race to sign the Belgium international.

Asked if he felt it was likely that Lukaku would come to Everton this summer Atkins said: "Hopefully. Those negotiations are out of my hands but I think he had a terrific year for Everton last year and I think everyone at the football club would like to see him back and hopefully he'll be pulling the Blue shirt on next year, things can be sorted out and he's quite settled in his mind that he wants to come back to Everton and help us get back to that next level after the [Europa League] this year, hopefully Champions League football the year after.

"Hopefully Lukaku [will sign permanently] because he is something that I know the management team would like in at Everton and I'm sure if he comes in he'll be a great asset."

Atkins' exact words may have been massaged a little on talkSPORT's website to make it seem as though Lukaku's desires are more cut-and-dried than perhaps they are to these ears, Atkins sounds more hopeful than certain regarding the Romelu's intentions but it does add another voice to the chorus from Merseyside encouraging the player to make the leap to Everton.

With Drogba's arrival at Chelsea and Lukaku due back at his current club within the next week, the timeline for what has been an increasingly frustrating saga for many Evertonians would seem to be reaching its climax. Certainly, with Arouna Kone looking less and likely to be ready for action until September and Steven Naismith, therefore, as the only now-recognised striker on the books, it's almost inconceivable that Everton will go into the season opener on 16th August without having added another forward. Whether Martinez chooses to wait as long as that for Lukaku will ultimately depend on how badly he wants him but unless there's another option out there for the player that's not being reported in the media or there's more to the Juve or Real links, it's hard to imagine he could still be stringing everyone along come the middle of next month.

I deliberately left in the run-on sentences in Atkins' comments as I feel they more clearly convey his thoughts than the liberties taken in talkSPORT's interpretation.

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Reader Comments (37)

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Julian Wait
1 Posted 27/07/2014 at 00:58:39
I thought this was a good article.

Specifically:

"Lukaku only turned 21 at the end of last season, and yet the only current Premier League player with more PL goals in the last two seasons than the Belgian’s total of 32 is Robin van Persie. That Lukaku achieved such a feat whilst playing for Everton and West Brom, where service (particularly away from home) was occasionally scarce, indicates just how comfortable he is playing as the central striker in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation, precisely the approach Mourinho may well utilise at Chelsea next season."

and

"A comparison of the number of league goals scored by the age of 21 sees Lionel Messi with 57, Michael Owen 55 and Wayne Rooney 44 - Lukaku has 65. This may not yet be the complete striker, but at such a tender age nor should he be - what he has demonstrated is that he could be one of the best forwards in the world in three or four years’ time."

Mouth watering when you look at it like that .... and perhaps puts any frustrations we have with him in context ...

James Flynn
2 Posted 27/07/2014 at 00:44:35
Good stuff. Let’s get him in.

And if we do and the Injury Gods are kind for a change, we’re rolling.

Si Cooper
3 Posted 27/07/2014 at 01:55:34
Without actually knowing what is currently going on inside Mourinho and Lukaku’s respective minds I am not sure how accurately anyone can predict when the player’s club for next season will actually be resolved.

Personally I think we have to be be firm in our resolve to have at least one other striking option raring to go when the season starts, and if Chelsea are messing us around we have to be prepared to go with our plan B (whatever that may be).

Ernie Baywood
4 Posted 27/07/2014 at 02:37:25
Would be such a huge statement of intent if we were to get him, and it’s a rare chance to own a player with such potential. Barkley and Lukaku potentially gives us the best forward line in the league in the next few years.

I think we’re actually going to do this, despite the seasoned pessimist in me.

Has to be a deadline though and, for me, it would be a week from now.

Stephen Edwards
5 Posted 27/07/2014 at 02:56:27
If, and it’s a huge if, Lukaku signs for Everton, I would be totally ecstatic, amazed and, if I’m being honest, a little worried. Everton have sailed pretty close to the wind, from a financial perspective, for as long as I can remember (i.e. the Kenwright years) and to spend - what would be a sound investment tbf - 20+ million on one player seems a little irresponsible? Maybe I worry too much and this possible transfer is a direct result of the recent increase in TV money but one can’t help but be a little concerned.

Anyway, financial concerns aside, as I say, the possible signing of Lukaku is hugely exciting. However, I have my doubts. The reason being, this time last year an article was published (sorry, no link) which basically indicated that Juan Mata is/was not a Mourinho ’player’. I remember thinking at the time, "they will literally write anything, how can a player of the pedigree of Mata not be a Mourinho ’player’ when he’d been one of the outstanding Chelsea players in what was - by Chelsea’s recent high standards - a pretty poor team (who won the CL btw)". Well, we all know how that ended.

What has this inside information got to do with the current Lukaku ’situation’? Well, around January, an article appeared (sorry ,again, no link) which basically outlined a Mourinho ’tactic’ of bringing Drogba back as a couch/player for the sole purpose of bringing the best out of Lukaku, who he (as in Mourinho) saw as his natural successor (as in Drogba, even though he’d left the previous summer). The idea being, Drogba - who is whom Lukaku basis his own game on btw - would personally ’train/mentor’ Lukaku in what it takes to be a true Chelsea legend. Lukaku is, btw, a Chelsea fan and has been since a child.

Reading between the lines, it appears there is a pretty friendly ’hack’ whom is close to (aka ’in the pocket of’) Mourinho. So, if what was written last summer was true - which we now know was - then it’s perfectly conceivable that the article written about the Mourinho ’tactic’ - given recent developments (i.e. the re-signing of Drogba) - of Drogba being more of a mentor than a replacement for Lukaku, is also true. That being the case, Drogba is returning to pass on his knowledge to - rather than take up the minutes on the pitch of - Lukaku? I maybe wrong - and believe me, I hope I am - but I believe Mourinho’s true intentions may have already been disclosed.

Terry Murphy
6 Posted 27/07/2014 at 03:29:08
Can’t agree Ernie - I want to say sign or sod off - but if he signed just before the deadline I’d still welcome him and be chuffed, despite all prior sulking. Question is has he been bitten by the blue bug and, if he has, is his desire to play for us strong enough to put in a transfer request?
Darryl Ritchie
7 Posted 27/07/2014 at 04:29:40
When it comes to transfers, the club usually plays it’s cards pretty close to its’ chest. Not a thing even mentioned about a player until he’s signed; or at least terms have been agreed to.

There have been so many people saying positive things about signing Lukaku, RM included, that I am almost starting to think that it’s going to happen.

I just hope it doesn’t take to long, one way or another. We NEED a striker! The sooner the better.

Ernie Baywood
8 Posted 27/07/2014 at 05:54:40
Terry, I’d be made up if we signed him at any point. But I wouldn’t be holding out for him if it’s not done soon. We can’t run the risk of going into the season without a striker. If that means spending the Lukaku money then so be it.
Andrew Presly
9 Posted 27/07/2014 at 06:09:07
Immediately and unavoidably calls to mind the John Cleese line from the film Clockwise, paraphrased....

"It’s not the despair, Everton. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand."

Andrew Clare
10 Posted 27/07/2014 at 07:03:12
We all know how business works. If someone comes in with an irresistible bid at the last minute then all previous negotiations count for nothing in the modern world of football transfer negotiations.

What we know so far is that Chelsea haven’t accepted a bid for Lukaku because if they had then it would just be down to Lukaku accepting personal terms. So really everything we are hearing is total speculation unless the announcement of his return is being delayed until a specific date which I doubt somehow.

I just hope we have an alternative option if this falls through.

Ajay Gopal
11 Posted 27/07/2014 at 07:17:44
Let's hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. As fans, I am worried that if this deal falls through at the last moment, for whatever reason, it will lead to a massive deflation all around and could lead to Everton going into the season with a negative mindset. Getting the right striker at a club happens once in a long while, and the consistent goal scorers are few and far between (Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Suarez, Van Persie, Bale, Henry, Shearer).
Colin Glassar
12 Posted 27/07/2014 at 08:19:57
I wonder if Chelsea will ask him to put in a transfer request? Rubbish these rubbish rumours linking him to Madrid and Wolfsburg. Absolute garbage with no truth to them whatsoever. He's almost an Everton player.
Gavin McGarvey
13 Posted 27/07/2014 at 08:11:13
It would be great if we could get him. We need him or a player like him if we are to play one up front.

Also his signing would be a big coup for both the club and rm. It's one thing to get a player like Lukaku on loan, another to sign him permanently.

I was getting a bit concerned before we signed Barry, but things seem to be shaping up with a couple more signings on the horizon. Would be nice to see Deulofeu sign up for another year, but maybe that's too much to ask for.

Anyway hope we sort this out one way or another by next weekend as signing a striker will be key to a good start to the coming season, and it's tough to sign a good one.

Derek Thomas
14 Posted 27/07/2014 at 08:05:57

For Years I’ve been on the Everton emotional roller coaster and the last fortnight has been no different.

When I average out the ups and downs with Lukaku, I come to this conclusion: unless he gets a mega offer from a top of the range CL outfit, which ’could’ happen, though I doubt if Mourinho would let him go in that case, then we must be one of, if not, THE, best option for him

Based on his reaction at the end of the Hull game, throwing his kit behind the goal, it could have been just as easy if he wasn’t bothered, to give a couple of hand claps over his head to the crowd and head off to the showers, he ’gets’ Us as they say.

Though it must be said, body language-wise, while Delboy was giving it the shrug shoulders, see ya, don’t know if I’ll be back, not up to me. Lukaku seemed to be saying, It’s been great but I’ve got to go.

We are, IMO, the best fit for him, at just turned 21. His, Ours and Roberto’s future are bound together, sink or swim for the next 4 or 5 year. He, We and Roberto will either improve and prosper, or...or, well we will remain where we are, but He and Roberto will still be young enough to have the chance to move on if it doesn’t come off...which of course could happen; see Everton roller coaster for last 50 odd years.

So, I am he, as you are he, and we are all together...fade into All you need is love...sorted

Nurse, Nurse, I think I’ve forgot me tablets, I’m to optomistic. * goes for lie down*

Kieran Fitzgerald
15 Posted 27/07/2014 at 10:09:34
Approach Chelsea and make a concrete offer. Name our best price, no haggling or trying to do it on the cheap. See what happens. If Chelsea want to keep him, they'll say so at that stage. We move on. If they want to sell him, we'll find out if our best offer is good enough or not. If not, then move on.

Sitting on hands and taking a wait and see approach is nonsense. If we have the cash to pay for a decent twenty goal a season striker then just go and do it. If it's Lukaku great, if not, source another player and try to buy him.

Mike Oates
16 Posted 27/07/2014 at 10:37:05
Roberto and his club colleagues (Atkins, Ossie etc) hopefully know for absolute certainty that we’ve got him already and its just about him returning from holidays etc to get him to sign(one might ask why if its certainty isn’t Bill & Co over in Belgium now getting him to sign before any other megaclub decide to enter late)

OR - will all end up with egg on their faces if ? we don’t actually get him. We don’t normally go full frontal on transfers unless he’s just arrived in Liverpool for medical etc.
I still feel something is not quite right yet, don’t know what (latest reports say no Lukaku purchase no Atsu loan), does that mean Chelsea saying - Bill we want £25m not £18m plus add-ons over 4 years.

Ernie Baywood
17 Posted 27/07/2014 at 10:36:39
We can say take it or leave it but they will only know that we meant it after we actually go and sign someone else with the Lukaku money.

So take it or leave it offers don't really work.

You've got two parties negotiating a circa 20M deal. If you were Chelsea you'd be looking for sell ons and future options right? It won't be quick. If it was, then you would think we're overpaying.

Given that we need him more than they need rid of him, they have the position of power in this deal. We simply have a choice to overpay, move on, or continue to negotiate.

Paul Andrews
18 Posted 27/07/2014 at 10:47:46
Lukaku will play for us next season.
Whether it takes a few days or a few weeks,he is coming.
Ernie Baywood
19 Posted 27/07/2014 at 10:58:40
I wish I had either your inside info or confidence.

Will he be able to play against Chelsea?

Paul Andrews
20 Posted 27/07/2014 at 11:08:22
It's both :-)
Declan Brown
21 Posted 27/07/2014 at 11:06:34
I'm really surprised no-one so far has mentioned that we play Chelsea on Saturday 30th August at Goodison.

My money would be on Lukaku joining us after this game either on the Sunday or actually on transfer deadline day (one for Jim White and his crew to go wild over on SSN).

Jose's mind works in devious ways, if Lukaku scores for Everton against Chelsea at Goodison so soon after being sold, the papers will have a field day with Jose and I don't think his mega ego could take that.

The transfer will be done after that game in my opinion on the Sunday or on Deadline Day. If we hold on and don't get him Deadline Day will be a panic...

Kev Johnson
22 Posted 27/07/2014 at 11:01:29
What we need on TW is someone who actually knows how transfers are conducted. I'm afraid the last few weeks have seen all and sundry tie themselves in knots on this subject. Otherwise knowledgeable people have made dim-witted remarks because, let's face it, none of us knows the first thing about this! There must be someone out there who's an Everton fan and works as an agent or recruitment guy or whatever. Without knowing the ins and outs of each transfer, it would be so useful to know how the process operates in principle.
Harold Matthews
23 Posted 27/07/2014 at 11:37:37
Sky Sports News this morning 8-28am. Martinez shouts "Of course we'll get him."

Besic can be seen training with the squad.

David Hallwood
24 Posted 27/07/2014 at 12:21:00
So Lyndon if the end is nigh for a patient courtship how should we ramp up the pursuit. Should it be a case of "OK gal you've had the cards, the chocolates and the flowers, now get yer knickers off" or something more subtle to show L'Amour.
Kev Johnson
25 Posted 27/07/2014 at 12:36:56
For those who haven't seen it, this is Martinez saying "Of course we'll get him [Lukaku]"

Link

I've got to say, it comes over as a throwaway remark/joke to me. Otherwise, it's a very odd way of going about business!

John Crook
26 Posted 27/07/2014 at 14:51:00
Interesting to see the Redshite have pulled out of signing Remy because of the medical report. At the £8M fee, we should be looking to capitalize on this. And it will also piss the Redshite off to no end. Remy and Lukaku on paper sounds amazing!
Brian Waring
27 Posted 27/07/2014 at 15:01:10
Declan, as part of the transfer Chelsea could easily stipulate that Lukaku doesn't play against them.
Trevor Lynes
28 Posted 28/07/2014 at 00:26:28
If he does not sign then we are high and dry.

All the talk of homing in on the correct targets and only players who will fit in to our squad are really sounding hollow.

I do not believe that NONE of the players currently signed by other clubs were amongst our targets !

If Lukaku does not sign then we will have very little time in which to sign a different ’Target’ and we could be starting the season without a striker as Kone will not be fit enough.

Our squad is depressingly weak and falls short of where we were before this window opened.

We have lost Lukaku (so far), Traore (so far), Deulofeu, Vellios and Magueye from last seasons squad.

We have long term injuries to Oviedo, Gibson, Pienaar and Kone.

Oviedo will not be ready until September at the earliest and Kone very probably is in the same boat.

Only Garbutt and Stone are ready for first team squad places with a realistic chance of playing.

In the meantime this board of buffoons are doing nothing to remedy things with anything like urgency.

Daniel Flosi
29 Posted 28/07/2014 at 02:54:53
Personally this talk about Chelsea waiting til after the match in August is a bit ridiculous. Surely if Chelsea feel they can sell Lukaku to Everton then they won't be worried about ONE game early in the season because they must feel they're title contenders without him. And if they are worried about that one match then they would be better off to keep him!

If it does go late it will be due to us trying to haggle the best price. I think Lukaku is the best striker on the market and wouldn't hurt too much to have to wait since he knows the system and Roberto. But dammit I want him signed and sealed now!

Steve Sweeney
30 Posted 28/07/2014 at 06:42:36
I don't believe we will get him; we are stuck with Billy Bullshit. I don't even think Martinez will be here next season; he will have found Billy Liar out by then.

We have an extra £30M from TV money, so there surely can't be losses, can there? So we have an extra £30M from TV, £27M & £12M from Fellaini, Anichebe and Jelavic, plus we must have reduced the wage bill by at least £2M per year.

Oh yes, we still have those other operating costs... I really despair. Wake up, Evertonians — Bill and this Board mean no investment — just the reverse!

Mark Tanton
31 Posted 28/07/2014 at 07:13:50
We are currently weaker than last season, going into August. That is a worry. Only Southampton currently significantly worse off in my opinion.
Brian Williams
33 Posted 28/07/2014 at 17:25:20
Brian Waring.They couldn't. That's only allowed on a loan. It would actually be illegal!
Paul Ellam
34 Posted 28/07/2014 at 15:42:26
I am beginning to think we won't get Lukaku :-( just a feeling I have
Tommy Davis
35 Posted 29/07/2014 at 20:29:42
Brian Waring #27 had stated that Chelsea could insert a clause into the contract saying that Rom could not play against us!

Brian Williams #33 I believe correctly mentioned that would be illegal (under the rules of the Prem/FA).............however, does anyone recall that we did have a similar situation with Tim Howard when he came from Cold Trafford?

If I am not mistaken, it was called a 'Gentlemans Agreement' & Tim did not play against his former team at Goodison (which we lost 4-2)? I don't mean during his loan spell in 2006 either, this was in 2007 AFTER his transfer!

Apparently United must have been worried that Tim would play the game of his life against Man U, yet even though it is illegal, they still asked Everton NOT to play him (hence the so called gentlemens agreement) & in my opinion we should never have agreed to it!

However in saying all the above, if it meant us getting Rom from Chelski, in a similar situation, I would say go for it, as it is only the one game, (even though I would want to say screw you Mourinho)

Lukaku would/could be a very valuable asset to have at Everton, infact I believe he could end up being a legend at Goodison with his goal exploits............. I guess in the next few weeks, we will find out one way or another, if that is to ever happen?!?

Conor Waters
36 Posted 30/07/2014 at 07:29:53
£30m price tag being bandied about now. Its getting ridiculous. It wouldn't surprise me if Mourinho played him against us at Goodison, hoping he'd score and somehow sour our relationship with him, just before a deadline day sale.

oh and Steve#30 chin up lad. Positivity goes a long way, or have you not noticed the Roberto effect?

Micky Norman
37 Posted 31/07/2014 at 08:37:06
Is this the end of....... this thread!

Welcome home, Rom.

Ben Mackenzie
38 Posted 02/09/2014 at 09:34:57
An outrageous waste of £28000000.

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