Bracing For the Inevitable?

Another international break, another problematic media interview involving one of Everton’s Belgian contingent. Are the paving stones being laid for Romelu Lukaku's painful exit from Goodison Park or can the striker be persuaded to stay?

Lyndon Lloyd 30/03/2016 100comments  |  Jump to last
Jeff Holmes/Getty Images

Another international break, another problematic media interview involving one of Everton’s Belgian contingent. Where once Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini before him would set Evertonians on edge with comments to their national media regarding their future, these days it’s Romelu Lukaku who is usually front and centre in that regard.

Many supporters are now resigned to the fact that it’s part and parcel of the modern game; press relations and media interactions are now embedded in the job description for professional players. That doesn’t mean, of course, that they have to answer every question, that they need to respond on every issue, or that they can’t be circumspect in what they say.

Lukaku is clearly an intelligent and thoughtful young man who has displayed an impressive maturity through what has already been an eventful career, despite him still being only 22 years of age. His latest words regarding his future, however, do both him and Everton a disservice. His father’s public call for him to sign for one of Bayern Munich or Manchester United — by the player’s own admission, clearly chosen because of Lukaku Sr’s affinity for those two clubs — may have put him in a somewhat awkward position, but in advancing the topic of him leaving Everton beyond the hypothetical to the more-than-possible, he has cast a pall of doubt over the club at a time when all focus should be on preparing for next month’s FA Cup semi-final.

When the easiest and most honourable option would have been to simply deflect the question, Lukaku elected to indulge the speculators and set in stone the backdrop to the remainder of Everton’s season. Not to be outdone, his agent has also weighed in, saying that his client is “ready to play in the best teams.”

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It was always going to be there, of course; that huge question mark hanging over the final two months of a campaign which, just like the last one, has gone badly awry on the Premier League front. Everton fans were, no doubt, hoping that we could sweep the Lukaku issue under the carpet for the next few weeks but there is no escaping the fact that it is the team’s stark failings in the league over two seasons now that have created the conditions in which the Belgian is considering leaving the club.

That, sadly, is on the man who tempted him to Goodison Park in the first place and whose position in the Goodison Park hot-seat is coming under increasing scrutiny. This was supposed to be the season that the Blues kicked on but while Lukaku has personally delivered, racking up the highest goals tally of his career, Roberto Martinez’s team as a whole have lost their way under the Catalan’s guidance.

If his current rhetoric suggests that he is ready to take the next step up — with the full knowledge that it would only happen with Everton being richly compensated — can anyone really blame him? The striker has fulfilled his side of the bargain with a goals return worthy of a top-four side and that divergence in fortunes is what could drive the striker away this summer if the right offer comes in. He may yet steer the club to FA Cup glory but you sense it could be more of a parting gift than evidence that Everton are ready to push on, even with the promise of Europa League football next season.

Having added to the foundations laid by David Moyes and assembled, on paper, the best Everton squad in a generation, Martinez is now in grave danger of seeing that team fragment in the face of poor results and a gathering sense that, on the pitch, the Blues are now going backwards.

As things stand, even if Martinez can engineer a top-half finish that marginally improves on last year’s 11-the place berth, it can’t realistically be viewed as genuine progress; not when the team laid down a marker in 2013-14 by ended the season in fifth. 2014-15 was supposed to be the outlier among a decade’s worth of top-10 finishes; it now looks as though the season before, with its record points haul, was the accident. That has become of increasing concern and it’s called into question the manager’s very survival in his current role, particularly if there is even a glimmer of a choice between a future featuring him on the one hand or Lukaku on the other.

There are those who insist, however, that Lukaku would have left Goodison Park this summer even if the Blues had qualified for the Champions League this season. In actual fact, a top-four finish in Martinez’s third season would surely have given the player everything he could have wanted at this stage of his contract with a club for which he clearly holds deep affection and at this relatively early phase of his career.

Ever ambitious, Lukaku has spoken before of wanting to “one day play again for one of the big clubs” and qualification for the Champions League on the heels of the arrival of a new majority shareholder in the form of Farhad Moshiri would have been an unquestionable sign of progress towards Everton reclaiming its long-lost place among the game’s top clubs. It will remain a mournful “if” for the time being.

Still, as discouraging as Lukaku’s words over the past few days have been, though, and as anxious as his agent, Mino Raiola might be to whisk him off to somewhere like La Liga this summer, his departure is not a given.

He is two years into a five-year contract with no release clause and Everton don’t have to sell, even if the player himself wants to leave… although digging our heels in would surely be counter-productive. No matter how professional he has been prior to this week’s ill-advised comments, having a disgruntled or unsettled player on the books for an entire season likely won’t create the ideal conditions for this team fulfilling the promise it had at the start of this campaign.

Moreover, if his stated aim is to play Champions League starting next season, his choice of destination clubs could be unusually diminished this summer. Few clubs can realistically afford the £50m-plus it would take to prise him away and among those in the Premier League who can, his former club, Chelsea, won’t be on the European gravy train come September and Manchester United could miss out as well. Were he to leave for either of those two clubs, it would surely be because they offer a safer bet on finishing in the top four in 2016-17 than do Everton.

In the unlikely event that, as some have posited, it is a question solely of money, Everton will be in the position this summer to vastly improve his compensation, even if it only buys one more season to demonstrate that the club can start moving in the right direction again. Combine that with the acquisition of some top-drawer talent in the summer that illustrates Everton’s ambitions under Moshiri and you have a more compelling case for him to stick around.

Would that be enough, though? Ultimately you feel it could be a bolder, more seismic change at the club than just signing high-class players that could prove to be the real symbol of ambition under the new status quo at Goodison, one that might possibly persuade Lukaku that progress can be made by the Blues on a short-term basis.

With or without the Belgian’s goals and with or without a second trip to Wembley, the final nine Premier League games of the campaign will go a long way to framing both the opinion of Martinez and the expectation around his role as manager at Everton ahead of an important summer and an even more important 2016-17 season beyond.

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Jim Bailey
1 Posted 30/03/2016 at 08:08:24
Good article, Lyndon, but I think we all know where Lukaku won't be next season. A lot of the blame has to lie with the manager, imagine the pressure that Lukaku is under to score goals knowing that his manager isn't interested in keeping clean sheets to win games.

Conversely, that means that the defence is not under any great pressure. Realistically we are looking at the loss of Lukaku, Stones and Barkley and I for one wouldn't blame any of them for going. It's really painful as a lifelong supporter of this great club to think what could have been this season.

Lots of keyboards have been smouldering lately with people's thoughts and opinions on the subject of whether or not Martinez deserves another season. For me, the first step in our journey to mix it with the big boys again is to relieve him of his duties... sooner rather than later.

Christopher Dover
2 Posted 30/03/2016 at 08:36:54
It's ironic that Martinez brought Lukaku into the team with faith he would get better and better and hopefully drive Everton onto Champions League qualification. Martinez came in as likely the next manager in waiting for Barcelona... So the the one we would like to stay is off and the one we want away we cannot get rid of.

How about sacking Martinez and not letting Lukaku leave? The club will not need the money and if he does not like it, well he can keep the bench warm for a season or help the reserves. Until Everton stand up to players then the small club mentality will persist and a contract (as we know) is not worth the paper it is written on.

My hope? RM to go win or lose the FA Cup; Lukaku to stay or sit on bench for a season. We will see but not holding my breath.

Tony Abrahams
3 Posted 30/03/2016 at 08:54:28
Could write twenty different things, because at the minute it's just pure speculation. But if Sterling, went for £50 Million, likewise David Louis, then Everton, should say that if Lukaku, wants to leave, they will listen to offers over £70 Million.

He's improved immensely, but if you can replace his goals, maybe it will stop us from becoming a one-man team. How many times have you left the game thinking, "That Lukaku is some fucking player"?

Phil Walling
4 Posted 30/03/2016 at 08:57:05
Why the hell would you want Lukaku to 'sit on the bench for a season' just to make a very dubious point?

If he stays he plays, and I am sure he would want to make his value rise even more by carrying on with his very impressive scoring record.

ps: You are right in saying contracts these days are 'not worth the paper they are written on'. Purely the basis for future negotiations.

Matt Williams
5 Posted 30/03/2016 at 09:13:22
If the powers that be at Goodison had got rid of Martinez when they should, I doubt we would find ourselves in this position.

Realistically, there are very few clubs who could afford him. As I see it, Man City, Real Madrid and PSG are the only viable options if he's leaving to play Champions League footy.

Brian Wilkinson
6 Posted 30/03/2016 at 09:14:48
Spot on, Tony. Same thing happened in '86 when we played the same way with Lineker, we became to reliant on him. There's no doubting Lukaku is one hell of a player but, if push comes to shove, we will get top dollar for him now; there must be someone out there we can buy.

I personally want him to stay but I cannot see it happening with the manager we have and the agent he has. If he doesn't go this summer, he will next season, so as always with the euros this year, his valuation will rocket this summer.

I hate to say it but he wants to play at the highest level; let's get someone in who wants to play for our club and not use us as a stepping stone to bigger things.

Niall McIlhone
7 Posted 30/03/2016 at 09:17:53
It seems to me that, if Rom is keen to go to his Champions League club, his sale would largely depend upon three key factors:

(1) Who is in the market to pay in excess of £50m to Everton;

(2) Would we sell whilst he is midway through a long contract?

(3) Whether he himself fancies the move on offer?

I'm not at all sure Bayern Munich would be in for him, nor Real Madrid, and definitely not Barcelona: The most likely suitors would, I guess, be PSG, but would this young man really want to ply his trade in the "no contest" Ligue 1?

I think much will depend how Mr Moshiri sees the club developing, and whether he is minded to retain Roberto's services into next season. Sadly, Lyndon, the speculation will only intensify right through the summer, particularly around the Belgian contingent; it's a given.

Brian Wilkinson
8 Posted 30/03/2016 at 09:23:35
On the same subject, I have read countless posts saying we would be in the bottom three without Lukaku's goals.

Surprisingly out of all the games we have won in the Premier League this season, there is only one match we would not have won without Lukaku scoring, that was the 3-2 win against West Brom.

In all our other wins, goals have come from other players as well as Lukaku so the myth about being in the bottom 3 without his goals does not add up.

Jim Lloyd
9 Posted 30/03/2016 at 09:32:06
I think that if he's definitely made his mind up to leave, then the club would lose out by aggravating the situation. Look at Liverpool with both Suarez and Sterling.

If the players want to go, and top clubs are waiting to buy them, then I think the club's best option is to get the best cash they can for him.

To me though, Rom will be looking at what we've done this season, including FA Cup run; and thinking about what's going to happen next season.

A lot could depend on what the Club's plans and transfers are like for the following season. And that depends very much on what Mr Moshiri intends to do.

If Rom sees us bringing in top class players, for an assault on the champions league spots, then he might stay. In other words, the club has to convince him to stay, as it won't be productive for anyone to force him to.

The role of Manager is equally important. If RM stays then that must be with Moshiri's blessing and that includes his plans for the team.

If, in the end, Rom makes his mind up to go, I think he's a lad who will be up front and honest with the club, so we could get top dollar for him and bring in top quality players with the funds.

I'd be sorry to see him go but his leaving on good terms would also benefit the club as well.

Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 30/03/2016 at 09:34:56
Brian, how many games have we lost because of a dis-jointed formation? I feel that in a lot of games this season, that the manager has neglected the defensive side of the team, in order for whoever plays on the left, to go and push on, to help Big Rom.

I think you are right though, because if his dad and his agent are both telling him to move, then I think it will be very hard for us to keep him.

Jim Potter
11 Posted 30/03/2016 at 09:43:46
We could do a 'Stones' on him and force him to stay – but his twat of an agent will probably sour the relationship with Everton to such an extent that it will become detrimental to all concerned.

We should hold out for top dollar – NOT the £50 mil being talked about. If Rom has a good Euros – then the skies are the limit.

I think even if we'd got a top four Rom would have fancied a 'mega club' after the Euros. Sad – but it's modern football.

Jim Potter
12 Posted 30/03/2016 at 10:00:44
And ... if we sack the manager would Rom be prepared to stay to see out the new guy's promises? I think as a very ambitious young player he wouldn't have the patience (unless it was a top of the tree manager).

As Martinez was the guy who signed him, perhaps he has some loyalty to him. If we sack him, Rom will use this as another reason to leave.

Either way, to me, he will sadly be off. Everything he is saying indicates that he wants trophies and fame with an established 'giant'. Take the agent (and now the annoying views of his dad) out of the equation and we might have had a chance.

Ralph Basnett
13 Posted 30/03/2016 at 10:08:37
If he wants to go, and he is not just fishing for more money, the price has to be right. We have to replace his goals and goals cost money, so when we read of figures of £60 mill plus that really is not far from the mark.

He has at least 8 years at the top, coupled with the fact that the few top strikers about at the moment are not as prolific but will cost just as much.

How much for Costa, Benteke, Kane? This lad has been consistently scoring in the Premier League for the last three years in indifferent teams, put him in a top team and what could he do?

Top money for a top player or he stays.

Simple really.

Erik Dols
14 Posted 30/03/2016 at 10:13:36
I like your article, Lyndon, as is gives quite a balanced view and I share the train of thought you have. But I want to add a point of view, as I have tried to do on other threads. I won't go into cultural differences again directly.

You say "When the easiest and most honourable option would have been to simply deflect the question". I'm sorry to highlight a single sentence, but it seems to be a common opinion on this site. And well, that would be easy and honourable from an Everton point of view. And of course this is an Everton-fansite so I can see why a lot of readers think like this.

But fact is that Lukaku is not only an Everton-player. He is a player of the Belgium squad as well. As much as he is adored by the Belgian fans and seen as the best striker they had in decades; he has a love-hate relationship with the manager of the Belgian team (Wilmots) and has not been able to replicate his club form for his country.

He lost his starting spot during the last World Cup and only scored one goal in this tournament. Wilmots has criticsed him in the press in the not too distant past. I think Lukaku is not all that sure about his place in the Belgian team.

At the same time, players like De Bruyne, Kompany and Hazard seem to have a guaranteed spot in the starting XI. Players who play for teams that normally qualify for the Champions League every year – although Chelsea will miss out this year and even Man City are in doubt of qualifying. And even though I personally don't feel Hazard, Kompany or De Bruyne set the Champions League alight this season or previous seasons – I personally think that Kompany's very limited, static style of defending is the main reason why Man City always went out in early stages the seasons before this one – I can imagine that Lukaku, apart from all other reasons, sees the Champions League as the holy grail, the level of play that would guarantee him his place in the Belgian line-up.

It certainly is the case that in Belgium, playing for a team that is on Champions League-level (normally), is highly rated, considered to be the highest one can achieve in club football.

So if Lukaku is asked about this, pushed about this subject, the Belgian fans expect him to say he wants to play in the Champions League. His National Team manager even seems to expect this. Yet the Everton fans expect him to deflect the question. It is certainly not easy to give a response to this question that will satisfy the reporter and satisfy both sets of fans/stakeholders. Especially after your dad has been a little bit too enthusiastic about his favourite teams in the press and your agent has been babbling again.

Dodging the question will get him bad press; he is already known as a press-unfriendly player in Belgium because he always avoids the "mixed zone" after national team games. It will reflect on him as being a player without ambition and questions will be raised if Wilmots was right to drop him during the World Cup. ,P.Debate will rise if he is mentally up to the task of playing football at the highest level. Debate will rise if Lukaku should be dropped for France 2016. Ridiculous? Yes. But I have seen it happen before in the continental press. And so we come to the cultural difference again. On the continent, you are expected to be outspoken.

So if I was Lukaku, and had to balance all this, and was pressed to answer a question about wanting to play in the Champions League next year. I honestly don't know what I would do. From Lukaku's perspective, deflecting the question is not honourable and certainly not easy.

BTW, in this piece above, I didn't even mingle in his own feelings about leaving Everton. I think we can have a debate about that as well but I think you captured that piece excellent, Lyndon. I just wanted to add that the lad has to cope with more stakeholders than just Everton.

Peter Roberts
15 Posted 30/03/2016 at 10:16:12
Personally, I believe we need a striker who has a better all-round game – there is no saying how many goals another striker like Bony would have scored in this Everton team.

I do feel that we have been good going forward; Lukaku has had the second-most shots at goal in the Premier League. Many of which were fed by Gerry and to be honest the lad should be playing along with Lennon – not replaced by Lennon.

There is no doubt that Rom is a very talented finisher – that is his strength. We have seen them at Everton in Lineker, Rooney, Yak, and Cottee to a degree.

With the money that is being touted and the right scouting, I feel that we can strengthen the team. If Lukaku could replicate the all-round game we seen against Southampton and Liverpool more often, then I would not want him sold at any price. The reality is that, despite a good goalscoring record, I feel that he could offer the team far more than he does on a more frequent basis.

Unless we can go out and buy a midfield that is more universally dynamic box to box rather than "two defensive midfielders and one attacking midfiellder", which basically means we have only one central midfielder who has the creative spark, then we need an all-round forward – not a player who likes to play off the shoulder and have the ball served to him to run on to.

If Rom pressed the defenders, looked after the ball better, and bullied more, then he could be one of the very best.

As it is, he is the perfect man to play for Man City – not as a starter but as a last-30-minute striker who can take advantage of a tired defence that has had to contain Aguero. He would score 20+ goals in that capacity. I don't think he is a Guardiola player though. I think PSG will offer £60m for him, pay him well, he will live in Paris, play Champions League and score goals in a lesser quality league.

Ian Burns
16 Posted 30/03/2016 at 11:28:16
As always, a well thought out article, Lyndon, but your underlying hope (or is that a prayer?) that we might get one more season out of Rom is misplaced. We will take the money and run, not because we need the additional funds but simply because Rom's father and agent would not allow him one more season at Goodison Park.

I have said it so many times on TW but I will say it again, that this is ALL down to the manager; his team management and his first team coaching staff. Not one of them is fit enough to be associated with EFC.

The really heartbreaking situation is that I also disagree with the article in that Martinez is not under the sort of pressure we believe he is. Kenwright believes in him totally – he is here for a while longer at least – unless the crowd at Goodison let the board know how they feel!

Denis Richardson
17 Posted 30/03/2016 at 12:05:00
Looking at what happened to Stones after his transfer request was rejected, would we really want to go through that again? No point in having a talented player in the squad if his form drops after being refused a move.

Cutting your nose off to spite your face.

As mentioned above, the club should just place a price out there so all clubs know what to pay. Also, the player then sees that the club is not standing in his way – as long as the price is met. Minimum of £50-60m.

With the Stones saga, we simply said he was not for sale at any price – in hindsight, this was not exactly a great idea, was it. The player then plays shit for the season, obviously in the fans' bad books, and we miss out on £37m (for a 21-year-old defender!).

ALL players will leave the club at some point and NO player is too valuable to sell. At the end of the day, if any club offers silly money (eg, Chelsea for Stones), we should accept, reinvest and move on.

When Lukaku leaves, most important thing is to bring in a decent replacement. Hopefully we have one lined up BEFORE he leaves so we won't be held to ransom when every club will know we're desperate for a decent striker.

James Stewart
18 Posted 30/03/2016 at 12:16:42
Reading between the lines of what Martinez has said on the matter, Lukaku has been assured that we won't stand in his way if a top club comes in for him like we did with Stones. Bayern or Madrid would be somewhat easier to take than Man Utd or Chelsea.

We had a wretched last season and he stuck with us but I can't see him doing it twice with an even worse league position more than likely.

Don Alexander
19 Posted 30/03/2016 at 12:35:25
As ever, this is a reasoned article by Lyndon but it must do his head in trying to introduce topical variety into the TW output.

Like Ian Burns at #16, everything, repeat everything, re Everton's shortfalls comes down to one man: Martinez. He is the elephant in the room re Rom, Ross, Stonesy and every other player who sometimes delight but more often baffle us.

I hope this latest international break has once again woken some of our players up to the point that they realise that if they stand in unison at Finch Farm they, and not Martinez or his inadequate coaches, will prevail. It must be stark staring obvious to them too that success under him is a dream and – whilst there may be a few that are fearful of a new regime in terms of their own careers – they should all, to a one as professionals, want to maximise their achievements and entertain the fans in doing so.

Ian Jones
20 Posted 30/03/2016 at 12:41:19
If West Ham manage a Top 4 place, this year, I could see him going there. He certainly likes scoring against them – not quite a Top Club as such, but having a good season, what appears to be a decent team and Manager, and with a move to a new stadium coming up, it might just suit his requirements to be playing Champions League.

However, I assume he wishes to play Champions League on a regular basis, and West Ham might not ne able to offer that to him long-term...

Or he might wait to see who win the Europa League this year... Liverpool perhaps. :)

Mark Andrews
21 Posted 30/03/2016 at 12:49:47
Let's be honest, who can blame Lukaku, a player of great talent, wanting to play at the highest level? The lad is ambitious and, with Phenomenal Bob at the helm, he won't achieve those ambitions.

My guess is that he'll follow our ambitious youngsters out of the door sooner rather than later, as Roberto doesn't look like he'll be going anywhere soon. We'll have a healthy bank balance but a poorer playing staff.

Thanks, Bob, for your magnificent, phenomenal legacy.

Jason Thomas
22 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:01:09
There are probably only four clubs that are viable for Lukaku. PSG, Bayern, Real Madrid & Man Utd. I can't see he's a Pep type of player, which can also be said for Barca. Arsenal won't pay the fee and anyone else will really be a sideways move.

Like a few of you have already said, a lot will depend on Moshiri's plans for next season. If he does go, however, don't bet against us trying to bring Rooney back as a softener.
Ged Simpson
23 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:12:08
Bet ya, he is with us next season.
John Keating
24 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:14:11

A good summation of, in my opinion, what the majority of supporters think and has been articulated on this site.

Since Martinez was installed you have been very "diplomatic"; however, it appears you are coming into the "Martinez has run his course" corner.

Your final paragraph is unfortunately one I cannot agree with in that I do not believe the final few games will shape the supporters' view of Martinez's future.

I, like many, wanted him gone midway through last season. Other posters wanted him to be given the full season. Others were prepared to see how the first 10-12 games of this season went. Then it was wait for Christmas. Now it's the last few games. The "wait and see" is becoming continual and I note a few are now talking of giving him the close season and the first 10 games of next season.

My belief is that Martinez may well have contributed to us signing Lukaku but he will also be the sole reason why he, and others, will leave. Martinez will not change. Martinez will slowly cause this great Club to become even more laughed at and to attract negative comment.

I believe Lukaku will be gone regardless at the end of the season but Martinez should be gone first.

Paul Conway
25 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:17:13
Martinez lured Lukaku with the proverbial 'carrot'. the promise of bigger things within the next two or three years of him signing, except, it hasn't happened. If we can be pissed off and disillusioned with Martinez, then so can Lukaku, If it wasn't for his goals we would be in the shite!

I think he genuinely liked Everton and probably still does! It's just that the lad has ambition and he obviously will not fulfill it in the immediate future; if we are true to ourselves, we know that – if we don't win the FA Cup – this season is one to forget.

Brent Stephens
26 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:21:53
Erik (#14), thanks for that post (another informative one on Lukaku). What he says to the press makes more sense having read your take on things.
James Hughes
27 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:23:20
I would like to think that Lukaku will give us another season.

One hope is that Moshiri is just finding his feet and has realised that this season is almost done so why rock the boat. He has his man on the board and can control via a trusted right hand man.

He is not Boy's Pen Bill and doesn't have blue tinted glasses, this is a successful businessman and a billionaire. He must be able to perform a 'swot analysis' of our club and see the problems that we all constantly rant about.

You would imagine he has a plan and it doesn't involve going in the same direction as we have been.

Declan Campbell
28 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:23:57
Peter Roberts, Bony looks crap everytime he is on the pitch for Man City, a far far better team than Everton, but if he was at Everton he'd be getting so many goals more than Lukaku??? How do you come up with that crap?
Gavin Johnson
29 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:42:21
There's reported talks between Rom's agent and Juventus. Surely BS. They always get linked with him. They couldn't afford £28m when we bought him. How would they be able to pay the minimum £56m Rom would cost now?!
Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 30/03/2016 at 13:46:04
I think Lukaku will be gone at the end of the season, no matter who is in charge of the club. But there are arguments going on among the players about the merits of Martinez. It is really up to those in charge whether the manager goes or stays.

I strongly believe it will not keep Lukaku at Goodison Park but it will have a massive effect on the future of the club.

I think it is imperative that Martinez goes, I hope Mr Moshiri understands and agrees with this point of view.

Frank McGregor
31 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:17:18
Very good article, Lyndon.

Recently I have been doing comparisons between the performances on the pitch between Lukaku and Vardy and quite honestly, Vardy comes out ahead of Lukaku in terms of all-round effort both on the ball and off the ball. Lukaku is not a hustler who will fight for the ball once he loses it or gives it up.

With regards the performances off the field, one gets the feeling Vardy feels privileged to play for Leicester whilst Lakaku's continual outbursts of wanting to play in Champions League are getting sickening.

My advice to Everton is to hold out for the best price they can get £70 million plus and use the money to strengthen the team in midfield ready for next season with a new manager in place.

Peter Roberts
32 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:17:51
Gavin. Juventus is his agent's way of getting interest drummed up. Stretford did this with Newcastle over Rooney. It's all happening and the media will not leave it alone.
Stephen Brown
33 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:28:18
We all support Everton! I have learnt not to be too bothered about the current players (difficult!) as not many seem to have much of a care about the club with the exception of a few (Jags? Cahill? Barkley?)

I try really hard to not get too attached to these current employees as they will all come and go eventually without giving any of us another thought!!

I hope he stays but doubt he will. I'm just pleased we are in a strong position to demand huge fee! A winner in the FA Cup Final will also improve his Everton legacy. (He seems interested in this sort of thing!!)

Paul Andrews
34 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:29:34
A club statement along the lines of:

Romelu has expressed an interest to move at the end of the current season. In view of that, and with him being under a decent length of contract, we will listen to market value offers in the region of £60 million.

We trust Romelu will in the meantime, as a professional footballer, give 100% effort to win the FA Cup for the fans who have backed him to the hilt.

Phil Walling
35 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:32:33
All those looking for 'Nearly Half Owner' Moshiri to start wielding the big stick are set to be disappointed.

My information is that Bill Kenwright will continue to call the shots on all things football whilst the new man concentrates on 'ground and commercial' matters. So please don't think our billionaire will get locked into talks with Romelu's agent anytime soon.

No one at EFC is even countenancing next season without Roberto – Cup success or not – but big things are expected of the Catalan in 2016-17 as ' the philosophy' goes into it's fourth season.

My bet is there won't be a fifth!

Jay Wood
36 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:33:05
On the question of the comments emanating from Rom himself, his father and his agent, Eric Dols has offered some excellent linguistic and cultural insight into Rom's utterances on this thread and others in the last couple of days.

IMO, the club still have a strong hand in this, given the 3 years remaining on his contract and (apparently) there are no clauses that would trigger Everton to sell our very best player asset.

Someone has to pay absolute top dollar to wrest him from us, or ... he remains with us.

Of course, the danger in the latter is that he pouts and sulks and has a detrimental, rather than positive, effect on the team and results.

Romelu doesn't strike me as that type of player. Look at Suarez at the 'poo when he tried to manouver a move to the Arse which the owners simply refused. Next season he was sensational and almost won them the league single-handed.

I'm of the opinion that we won't see much in the way of radical decision making until this season is closed. But then, I'm hopeful that our new benefactor will start to give us a clearer indicator of what to expect under him.

Both he and Roberto have clearly stated funds will be made available which enables Everton to shop in a better market for players.

Together with Moshri's investment, the considerable monies from the TV deal and the infrastructure already in place at Everton (excellent training facilities and academy), this summer could be pivotal to Everton's immediate and long term future fortunes.

I would suggest for Moshri to stamp his mark on the club he has a very small window of opportunity in which to achieve this.

He needs to make an almost immediate decision on the manager, whether to retain or dispense with Roberto, and if the latter, to have an absolutely top drawer manager to replace him.

Such action will inform players and supporters alike what to expect for next season and will convince (or not...) the likes of Romelu Lukaku to stick with us.

Until then, speculation will continue, unrestrained.

Erik Dols
37 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:36:18
One other insight from the continent: the agent of Lukaku is Mino Raiola, an Italian-Dutch agent. He is seen as a shrewd businessman but at the same time a total jerk and nobody takes anything he says seriously. For instance, a few years ago he had this to say about Cruyff and Guardiola:

"I think Cruyff should be in a mental asylum with Guardiola, so they can sit there quietly and play cards together. They would be doing Barcelona a great favour."

And that is typical Raiola talking. I do not really understand why a professional would choose to have an agent who expresses himself in public like this, but I advise to take nothing this guy says for real.

Andrew Clare
38 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:45:36
All of this is irritating but quite honestly as long as we get the right manager, whether it be at the end of the season or in January next year it is not a problem.

If as reported there are several clubs interested in Lukaku then I am sure we can hold out for top dollar. When you hear Ian Wright saying that Lukaku needs to go to Man Utd to play with better players you really can't disagree. We have too many mid table players in our team like Robles/Howard, Jagielka, Barry and McCarthy for example.

They are just not top four players. They are good but not good enough.
I am hoping that we will have a clear out in the summer and bring in 4 or 5 or 6 top class high energy young players. No oldies. You never know as said in the article above if Lukaku is aware of the club's intentions he may well stay.
Robin Cannon
39 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:48:11
"...even if the player himself wants to leave, although digging our heels in would surely be counter-productive..."

Isn't this really dependent on how determined he is to leave, though?

There's a big difference between the hypothetical "I'd like to play in the Champions' League" and an offer that would really excite Lukaku.

Sure, if there's an attractive offer on the table and a player is determined enough to basically "down tools", then it's tough to justify forcing them to stay. But there's no real sign that Lukaku is the kind of player who'll kick up a big fuss to try and force matters without that.

Martin Nicholls
40 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:57:54
In all but technical terms, Moshiri is in total control of our Club. My information is that he'll exercise that control over everything to do with it.
Jim Hardin
41 Posted 30/03/2016 at 14:58:06
What is wrong with a player being ambitious and wanting to constantly challenge themselves by playing at bigger and better clubs and in bigger and better tournaments (that is all the Champions League is anyway)? It is a challenge to the player to improve himself, but also, to improve the club's position. I want 23 of those players on the squad, fighting for spots and pushing each other and the manager.

Lukaku came here for the money according to some, because it was his only option, according to others, and/or because he liked Martinez and/or Everton according to still others. Fine, but he has produced and improved each season. He has kept his end of the bargain, I think.

However, it goes both ways. Is it not reasonable for the player then to expect the club to take the needed steps to improve its position and squad? Can anyone honestly say that Everton have done so? Everton has not kept its part of the bargain at all.

If Martinez and the added parts all clicked we were "pushing for top 4" meaning it would take a bit of luck to get there. The club's aspirations must match that of the type of players like Lukaku, that are needed. Those aspirations sadly are not there. Lip service is paid to the "idea" of Champions League but are we really bringing in enough top quality players? Have our personnel choices really shown that desire?

Everton as a club would seemingly be happier with a player making the squad and saying, "I have reached my dream. I only want to play for Everton." No ambition, no drive to do anything further, just drift along wherever the tide may take the club.

I personally do not want that. Give me players that are attractive to other clubs and who will leave if the club doesn't play its part properly because their ambition and drive to succeed require it.

If Lukaku goes it is because the club failed to match his ambition and drive. Maybe a change of manager and a pledge of attracting four top quality (read bigger money and wages) players might persuade him. If it doesn't though, I won't fault him. I would actually respect him more because he isn't happy to just take the money and play in an essentially meaningless (internationally) local competition semi-final or final once in a while or Europa League games once every blue moon.

Michael Penley
42 Posted 30/03/2016 at 15:09:19
Jim, if Rom and his agent were really ambitious, they'd push for a move to Leicester or Spurs. That's where he can really challenge himself, fighting for a place among rival strikers with a team not normally competing in the Champions League.

Instead, you see all this talk about "big clubs". That suggests to me it's about the money, not the challenge. Why would his father suggest moving to Man Utd? Where is the challenge in that, compared with Everton?

Eugene Ruane
43 Posted 30/03/2016 at 15:31:41
Jim - '..he has produced and improved each year. He has kept his end of the bargain, I think.'


This 'bargain' then was presumably along the lines..

'I Romlington Fothergill Goalsworth Lukaku, do commit myself to Everton Football Club for a period of not less than 5 years. I understand that my signature is legally binding and I guarantee to honour it.

'ps: Obviously it will also be understood that said agreement won't be worth a fucking carrot should I fancy shooting off somewhere else at anytime for any reason.'

Jay Harris
44 Posted 30/03/2016 at 15:31:47
Good, well-balanced article, Lyndon, and a great contribution from "our man in Europe", Erik Dols, but for me, until we resolve the Martinez issue, nothing else can be resolved.

If we attract the likes of Mourhino and Gus Hiddink along with some top back-up staff that have actually achieved things, the players will look up to them and then I believe the dynamic will change and the likes of Lukaku, Stones, Barkley and Deulofeu may be motivated not only to stay but to put Everton back at the top table.

The alternative is Armageddon with Martinez left calling the shots, pissing all the players off, and Relegation Roberto back in town.

I doubt that we put a clause in Roberto's contract similar to what Man Utd put in Moyes's contract that he had to achieve Champions League but we surely have a case for poor performance of duties.

John Keating
45 Posted 30/03/2016 at 16:19:08
Andrew (#38),

Like you, and I would think most supporters, we all would like 4 or 5 or 6 young high-energy players brought in during the Summer.

Thing is, whilst this clown is in charge, they'll soon become like the rest, unfit, boring low-energy losers.

We have to get the right manager in before we spend any money. Let the new guy bring in who he wants, not those Martinez has ruined.

Alan J Thompson
46 Posted 30/03/2016 at 16:32:46
Has anyone from Everton, officially or otherwise, made any remark concerning Lukaku's words? Or are they just seen as comment on his father's remarks?
Phil Walling
47 Posted 30/03/2016 at 16:35:50
Jay, there is no Martinez issue. He is our manager for 'the foreseeable'. Dreams of Mourinho and Hiddink are just that. Dreams.
Ged Simpson
48 Posted 30/03/2016 at 16:37:49
Brill, Eugene
So accurate. Love that post. Saw one post saying if we buy his brother he may stay. How about his dad? Mother-in-law?? Dog???
Steavey Buckley
49 Posted 30/03/2016 at 16:40:50
Next season the value of English players will have gone up due to increased TV money, so the value of Lukaku will also gone up. The big 'if' of course is who can replace Lukaku's goals, because the next goalscorer after him is Barkley with 8 goals.

In the same way, Everton did not replace Fellaini's goals (1 in every 3 Premier League games). It is going to be very hard to replace Lukaku's goals (1 goal every 1.75 games).

Dave Abrahams
50 Posted 30/03/2016 at 18:28:25
Thanks Dean,I can get it sorted, but as you say you are just taken for granted by the FA and also by the clubs.
Christine Foster
51 Posted 30/03/2016 at 18:28:38
I think the only chance that Rom will stay will be if Roberto is shown the door and a top notch manager is appointed before the end of the season. If we lose the semi-final, I think he will (should) be sacked and hopefully his replacement is currently being chatted to.

It's highly likely Newcastle will not avoid the drop and I think Rafa still has a home on the Wirral? May be wrong on that one... but we need a dose of credibility and a top manager if he and others are to stay.

We all saw how Chelsea players made it impossible for their manager, it's easier to change one man than a whole team.
Peter Cummings
53 Posted 30/03/2016 at 18:47:14
I think one of the main points here is that Lukaku has himself 'quoted' his ambition to play in the Champions League while both his father and agent have apparently only endorsed his views. If this is the case, then his statement will certainly attract possible buyers for his signature, although many TW posters feel those with the deepest pockets are few and none of them will bite despite his goalscoring record.

If we're brutally frank, we would admit that goalscoring apart Lukaku is far from being the finished article and may never reach that position: poor ball control, heading ability, constantly losing fifty-fifty tackles and laziness are just some of his faults which need urgent attention, in my humble opinion.

If he goes, so be it, as there is no such thing now as club loyalty; multi-year contracts are now full of 'conditions', just as there is no guaranteed lifetime employment for we who help provide footballers with a multimillionaire lifestyle, players will come and go but like life, the game will go on.

Paul Kossoff
54 Posted 30/03/2016 at 18:56:09
Andrew 38, 'When you hear Ian Wright saying that Lukaku needs to go to Man Utd to play with better players you really can't disagree'.

Really? Even ex-Man United players are tearing that team set up and manager apart stating that the whole side should be shipped out and rebuilt. Can't disagree? I do.

Lukaku's agent is at Juventus and they are prepared to pay £50million. Apparently Lukaku is rumoured to have told Everton he wants to leave.
Paul Conway
55 Posted 30/03/2016 at 18:59:14
I just hope that between Lukaku and Stones wanting out (I am assuming; I maybe wrong!) that it doesn't turn out to be a fiasco, like with Lescott. Remember the 0-7 defeat to Arsenal a few years back?

I personally think we should sell them and get what they are worth, right now. With Lukaku, we could get silly money (under a new manager, of course!). This would finance more players.

If Lukaku's goals are representative of his performance, it means nothing if we are in 12th and falling. This proves that the rest of the team (manager, as well) are not in sync and means that Lukaku is probably too big for us at this present time.

It's a bit akin to buying an Aston Martin and not being able to afford the insurance. I think by keeping Lukaku in this present team, in our present league position, with our present manager, we are trying to fart higher than our arse!
Andy Crooks
56 Posted 30/03/2016 at 19:00:39
A really good article, Lyndon. I think, though, that you carry more weight than you imagine and I feel you should be a bit more strident. You represent a powerful group of Evertonians and your view counts.
Ian Brandes
57 Posted 30/03/2016 at 19:21:17
Forgive my cynicism, but this whole Lukaku thing hinges on dosh for himself, and his mouthy agent.

In my view, he is on his way because a drop in form, and value, and a subsequent massive sulk means he will almost certainly become a liability if we keep him against his will.

As for this latest development, it is the one thing I do not blame Martinez for. And I tend to agree with others that we will be lumbered with this continental clown for some months to come. It is obvious that the current regime preferred Martinez because he might be sidetracked away from matters on the field.

Raymond Fox
58 Posted 30/03/2016 at 19:22:50
There's plenty fish in the sea, or there was!

He won't go to Man Utd, Mourinho won't buy him, he would be admitting he'd cocked up selling Rom to us, and big head wont like that. The Spanish clubs and PSG are the only ones I can see him going to. Man City have Aguero, but I suppose they could still buy him because it's money no object.

Put £60m+ on Lukaku and I think Stones will want to leave also. It's hard to value John now, but say £50m+ and sell to the highest bidder if a deal can be done.

Let's face it, Stones has not set the world on fire for us this season. In a perfect world, we would keep them but, if they are set on leaving, it's best to sell. If we sell them for say £110m, that will enable us to buy quality players; who knows, we may end up with a better team.

Then there's Moshiri, what's his intentions as far as investing in the team is concerned? He has said he wishes to, the question is: How much?

I can see us cracking off with an exciting team next season, better balanced than the one we have now.

Jamie Barlow
59 Posted 30/03/2016 at 19:25:26
Denis @17, I don't see the point in setting a price. Why would you put a limit on it?

I also don't like your idea of Everton rolling over every time someone wants our better players.

Eddie Dunn
60 Posted 30/03/2016 at 19:25:30
Another good article, Lyndon, I think you cover all of the issues. It is a rather sad situation, and it will be remembered as the season of what might have been.

I think he will most likely leave in the summer, possibly to PSG. I think he will like easier bread-and-butter games, enabling him to raise his profile in the Champions League and International matches. Paris is near his homeland and will be a lovely City to live and work.

He has the potential to be a super striker but, at the moment, he is not the complete centre-forward. We have relied on him too heavily and our midfield have grown shot-shy as he has carried us through this term.

He has though, been all too concerned with his own reputation, ie, taking the penalties, taking free-kicks. It's all about Rom, whatever he might say about the team. He is ambitious, and just as Lineker went, so will he.

Vardy would be my choice – if we could get him!

Peter Jones
61 Posted 30/03/2016 at 19:33:31
Ged Simpson: I second that. Why all the panic over a few headlines?

He´ll still be here next season. Calm down everyone...
Mike Gaynes
62 Posted 30/03/2016 at 19:43:33
Great article, Lyndon... thought-provoking as usual.

Three thoughts I haven't yet seen expressed in detail here:

1. Expecting a 22-year-old kid to be 100% smooth with the press when both his father and his obnoxious agent are mouthing off is too much. Rom's going to say what he says, and I've seen nothing out of bounds from him. So be it.

2. Rom, his father, his agent and Roberto may have NO say whether he leaves Everton or not. He has a contract, and the new owner is the final arbiter of whether he can break it. And if Moshiri is as unflappable as we have heard, he may just ignore the windstorm and keep his man.

3. It's unfair to simply assume that if Rom requests a transfer and is refused, he will sulk and stew and allow his performance to slip. I've seen a rapid maturation into a classy young man who plays with heart and passion, and I really don't think he'll stick his thumb in his mouth and pout.

Lyndon Lloyd
63 Posted 30/03/2016 at 19:57:00
Thanks for the responses so far, folks. Much appreciated, particularly the standard of comments.

Erik's well-put points at #14 are well taken but my issue is less with Lukaku's need/desire to express his ambition to his compatriots and more to do with his specific assertion that he could leave Everton this summer.

I'm not sure that needed to be said at this point of our season, even if we Evertonians know it to be true deep down and most of us couldn't really blame him.

Robin (39): But there's no real sign that Lukaku is the kind of player who'll kick up a big fuss to try and force matters without that.

No, there isn't and, to his credit, he has already said that he won't cause grief in order to force through a move so I wouldn't expect him to "down tools".

He is only human, though, and just as there has been a perceptible change in John Stones's performances this season, I'm sure it would be difficult for Lukaku to just carry on at 100% if he really wanted a move to a Champions League club this summer and we stood in his way.

Yes, he is contracted to the club and should just get on with it but, like I say, we're dealing with human beings here, not robots. With him still being only 22 (nearly 23), we at least have his relative youth on our side but the main thrust of my views on the Lukaku situation at the moment basically revolves around one thing: what evidence is there that his career will progress by staying at Everton another year while we're in regression?

Ray Said
64 Posted 30/03/2016 at 20:11:31
The agent, Mino Raiola, is very successful in moving players between clubs every two or three years for big fees from which he takes a big slice – see some of his clients and deals below.

If one thing is certain to me, it's that Lukaku will be on the move and we will have to make the best of it. We have had better players than Lukaku leave and we have worked through it. It happens to every club – except Real Madrid. Even Barcelona had Figo wrenched away by Madrid.

It's just a fact of life that we will see him go probably to PSG and will receive a big wedge. We will then take the cash and do to another club exactly what has been done to us and take their best players. Same old game, same old rules, it's just that we used to be at the top of the pecking order in England regarding transfers and now we are among the also-rans.

Date Player New club Previous club Transfer
1988 Frank Rijkaard Milan Sporting CP Unknown
1993 Dennis Bergkamp Internazionale Ajax £12 million
2001 Pavel Nedvěd Juventus Lazio €41 million
2004 Ibrahimović Juventus Ajax €16 million
2006 Ibrahimović Internazionale Juventus €24.8 million
2009 Ibrahimović Barcelona Internazionale €46M
2010 Robinho Milan Manchester City €15 million
2010 Mario Balotelli Manchester City Internazionale £24
2010 Ibrahimović Milan Barcelona Loan (€24M)
2012 Ibrahimović Paris Saint-Germain Milan €20 million
2013 Mario Balotelli Milan Manchester City €20 million
2013 Bartosz Salamon Milan Brescia €3.5 million
2014 Mario Balotelli Liverpool Milan €20 million

John Keating
65 Posted 30/03/2016 at 20:19:52
Raymond (#58)

I take it you accidentally left out a paragraph mentioning Martinez getting the heave prior to signing players to make our team not only better but more balanced?

Something at which the present manager has failed phenomenally.

Robin Cannon
66 Posted 30/03/2016 at 20:22:13
@Lyndon (63) - I suppose it depends on what club. Ultimately he's not really saying, "I want play in the Champions League"; he's saying "I want to play for a team that have potential to compete FOR the Champions League (if not now, then soon)."

That list is always going to be limited. Likely to qualify for the Champions League I think you're really only looking at PSG (most likely), Juventus or... potentially (given Aguero's injury issues) Man City who might a) want him and b) be able to afford him.

The likes of Man Utd and Chelsea are still in the running; especially dependent on their managerial appointments. Even if not qualified for next season, they still match that "potential to compete in the Champions League" more than we do.

The task of the club, it seems, is to work to limit the number of clubs that Rom might consider as being more likely to compete in the Champions League than us in the next few years. That means giving him confidence in the management of the team, in the maintaining of the squad, and in our plan for progression with our new investment and majority shareholder.

Lyndon Lloyd
67 Posted 30/03/2016 at 20:31:57
Robin (#66): Ultimately he's not really saying, "I want play in the Champions League"; he's saying, "I want to play for a team that have potential to compete FOR the Champions League (if not now, then soon)."

I think that might be a subtext but the inference (if not outright statement) was that he is ready and wants to be playing Champions League football as of next season.

If he is saying "I want to play for a team that have potential to compete FOR the Champions League (if not now, then soon)", as you say, then that puts more direct pressure on Martinez and (by extension) Moshiri and the Board vis-a-vis the manager's position.

As many have pointed out, there is no evidence thus far that Martinez's job is under threat but results over the remainder of the season could change that.

John K (#24), that's what I was getting at with my final paragraph. If our current poll is anything to go by, the majority of fans don't need much swaying on the Martinez question.

Patrick Murphy
68 Posted 30/03/2016 at 20:34:52
I don't get this confusion surrounding Rom; he has stated that he wants to be playing in the Champions League from next season. Therefore, regardless of how many games Everton win between now and the end of this season or how much the board may offer him to stay, he will leave before the start of next season.

He could have said "I will do all I can to get my current club into Champions League, if not this season, then next..." but he hasn't and it's pointless believing that he will be wearing the Royal Blue of Everton past the coming summer's deadline day.

Add his own statements to those of his agent and, to a lesser extent, those of his father and this a player who has his sights set on plying his trade elsewhere. Hopefully none of this will impact on his goalscoring form for the Blues for the remainder of this campaign but I fully expect that Rom's last Goodison game for Everton will be against Norwich City and I'm hoping, if my reading of the situation is correct, that his last ever appearance in Everton blue, will be for the FA Cup Final at Wembley in May.

Erik Dols
69 Posted 30/03/2016 at 20:50:15
All is well! Gary Neville has been sacked! Certainly, appointing him as the new manager will convince Rom and the others to stay??
Raymond Fox
70 Posted 30/03/2016 at 20:56:40
John (#65), I'm easy on who's manager next season. If we replace Martinez, the new guy will soon get mullered on here. Look at Ranieri, he's flavour of the month right now, but how many clubs has he been sacked from?

It's a magic merry-go-round as far as managers are concerned. Martinez has bad points and good points but don't they all? Anyway, we are getting off topic.
Jay Harris
71 Posted 30/03/2016 at 21:05:19

You seem convinced he will be given longer but I only see that happening if we win the FA Cup.

Moshiri has his representative on the board and, despite the apparent bon homi he is no fool, so if the current tidal wave of opinion continues, I honestly can't see him lasting – even if Bill is still around.

Jim Bailey
72 Posted 30/03/2016 at 21:23:03
Lyndon @63, your last question says to me that you also want Martinez out. It isn't rocket science at the end of the day, this club will not progress under the present managerial set up.

Moshiri has been quiet and I'm hoping that he will let us long suffering fans know what his intentions are for the immediate future.

When nobody says anything people will automatically put 2 and 2 together and get 5.

Come on, Mr Moshiri and Bill Kenwright, what is going on?

Clive Lewis
73 Posted 30/03/2016 at 21:25:30
Good luck to Romelu, he has more than provided Everton with many goals. He has improved over this season and his ambitions have outgrown the ambitions of our current manager.

He was purchased to deliver, this he has done even under a faulty manager.

Unfortunately this is the downfall of persisting with an inadequate manager.

Brian Harrison
74 Posted 30/03/2016 at 21:32:39
This year being a Euro Championship, then I think a lot of deals will be sorted quicker than usual. I assume that many players looking for moves will have their agents already talking and sounding out prospective buyers.

Many players playing in the Euros will also return to their clubs later depending on how far their respective countries fared in the competition. I don't think many buying clubs will wait till after the Euros are finished, as a stellar performance from their target could increase his price.

Everton's problem will be if Lukaku goes, how do you replace him, even if we get £60-70 million? Other top strikers will also want to play in the Champions League, so replacing like for like will be very difficult.

Brian Harrison
75 Posted 30/03/2016 at 21:42:09
Eric Dols,

I am not for one minute suggesting Gary Neville should be our next manager. But I have to admire the guy, unlike Andy Gray who didn't have the balls to give up Sky and manage Everton. Neville went out to a country were he didn't speak the language or know the league that well. No, it didn't work out for him but, unlike our manager, he didn't hide from his mistakes and told it how it was.

I think, never having managed and to take on a club like Valencia, was a very brave decision.

Kevin Judge
76 Posted 30/03/2016 at 21:43:00
I wonder how many of the people on here, if old enough, said the same thing about Howard Kendall back in the 80s, when he was the target of people wanting him sacked?
Ernie Baywood
77 Posted 30/03/2016 at 21:50:20
I don't read anything into this. Players are big money - no-one is going to dampen the fire, they fan the flames.

Interest in Lukaku is win-win for him and his hangers on. He won't get booed at Goodison, he might get a pay rise with us, he might drive an auction for his services. He can't really lose by dropping the odd comment.

John Keating
78 Posted 30/03/2016 at 21:53:42

I agree.

Whatever anyone thinks of Neville during his playing days, he deserves some credit for having a go – unlike many pundits.

As you say, unlike our in-house clown, he said it as it was.

Jim Hardin
79 Posted 30/03/2016 at 22:04:34
Sure Eugene,

A contract is binding and limited to the four corners of the document. However, if fraud or some other material misrepresentation occurred in the inducement of making the contract, then it may indeed be voided.

As for Rom, if he was advised he could leave after this season if Everton did not qualify for the Champions League, then should your analysis still hold that he is tied to the contract if he wants out?

So just paying a player's wages should excuse the lack of ambition of a club because, screw it, we have the player's signature on paper? Good luck getting the next batch of players to sign when every other player winds the contract down at a any club that would operate that way. BTW, you then would have no objection to a player or manager running down his contract and leaving on a free so the club gets nothing in return?

So, if Martinez told Rom that he should sign an extended contract under the promise that players would be brought in and the Champions League would be achieved, or else Rom could leave at the end of the 15-16 season if they didn't do it,

Jamie Crowley
80 Posted 30/03/2016 at 22:34:55
If Rom wants away, and Everton stand their ground (reference the Stones's situation with Chelsea), there seems to be an understood assumption that the club does not want a disgruntled player so we'd be better off selling. I'm not so sure about that.

If the player is indeed disgruntled and decides to put in half-assed efforts or cause a stir, surely the fallout of that situation would be the player simply either:

(a) Not putting up the same stats and numbers, or,

(b) Not playing as much (benched by the manager).

Either way, would the player's value not decrease, and would that not then mean the player is literally shooting themselves in the foot with their future economic prospects?

If a player plays crap, or doesn't play at all, their value surely will drop. So how then does it benefit the player to "pitch a fit" if the club doesn't let him go? He has to keep playing and putting up numbers to keep his value high and therefore reap the economic benefit of a big-money transfer, doesn't he?

A rhetorical question. But I'm just not sure any player whose transfer request is denied can just check out and play hard ball as his valuation would surely drop?

Someone educate me.

William Colman
81 Posted 30/03/2016 at 22:45:42
The only slight chance of keeping Rom is to make him our highest earner, captain and Number 9. He's a goal scorer... priceless.
Gerard Carey
82 Posted 30/03/2016 at 22:51:56
Just a thought: don't we still owe Chelsea a hefty wedge of Rom's transfer fee?

So, if he goes £50 or 60 million, we might see only £35 or 40 million of it, plus who knows what else was written into that transfer deal. Just saying!.

Brian Williams
83 Posted 30/03/2016 at 23:06:49
You're right Jamie, IMO. It's up to the club if they want to hold him to his contract and keep him.

Obviously that throws up the problems you've mentioned but Everton did it with Stones. I'm struggling to see how this is any different, apart from Lukaku being a lot more difficult to replace!

Andy Crooks
84 Posted 30/03/2016 at 23:54:09
Raymond (#70),

A new manager will not be mullered on here. David Moyes got at least five years before there was much dissent. Evertonians realized that he was up against it. Martinez has been dealt a much better hand and he has played it, in my view, with utter ineptitude.

However, this is what we have got, so good luck to him and I hope I am wrong.

George Stuart
85 Posted 31/03/2016 at 01:14:18
Sooo Everton....

I can imagine Rom, a striker, saying to the new owner, "I will stay if you strengthen the defense"!

Given that we currently have three of the English defensive players, that is a terrible condemnation of the English set-up.

Okay, I know that the Everton failings begin mainly in front of the back four. God, imagine the chaos if we didn't have Gareth Barry there.

So, Belgium have a useful young full back, comes off the bench. I think we should sign him on a two-year contract with a substantial buy-out clause. ;-)

Erik Dols
86 Posted 31/03/2016 at 08:24:20
Brian Harrison (75), it was just some light-hearted banter. I think Gary Neville did awful at Valencia but I agree that he deserves credits for choosing the difficult route. It would have been far simpler for him just to stay at Sky.

Just to make sure, I would not want him as the next Everton manager though.

Mike Gaynes
87 Posted 31/03/2016 at 08:31:51
I've noted several comparisons to the Stones situation, but I don't see them as similar. Rom isn't just a year older... he's a whole lot more experienced at the top level (including international), better traveled and just more mature.

I don't know if Stones's dropoff in form was related to the Chelsea bid or if he just hit a sophomore slump, perhaps in concert with his first injury issues. But, as I mentioned previously, I just can't see Rom folding if he's denied a transfer. Just too strong a character.

Ray Roche
88 Posted 31/03/2016 at 09:14:10
George Stuart (#85),

I think it's more that is a terrible condemnation of the Everton set-up. These same players were exceptional before our present manager took hold of the reins.

Brian Williams
89 Posted 31/03/2016 at 09:16:02
Mike, they're similar (identical I would say) with regard to contract situations, as in Lukaku is under contract as was Stones at the time he wanted away. So, in my opinion anyway, Lukaku's situation could be handled in a very similar way to Stones's.

He should be told "We don't want to sell, you have three years left on your contract and we'd like you to honour that contract."

If the club REALLY wanted to keep him next season, they could, no problem.

Philip Yensen
90 Posted 31/03/2016 at 09:58:41
Time to look at the rest of the team and give Lukaku a reason to stay. Better midfielders, stronger keeper, stronger defenders and a captain with authority and finally a top manager. Otherwise, kiss Lukaku (or any other quality striker we unearth) goodbye.
Alan J Thompson
91 Posted 31/03/2016 at 10:59:30
I dare say someone will know but I always thought there was a contradiction between a contract of employment and the right to choose where and for whom you worked (freedom of employment/master-servant relationship). Contracts of employment being different from contracts promising to provide goods or services.

Also, I've presumed that transfer windows were to deter players moving as and when they wished if clubs followed these guidelines (protecting their own interests?) and signing players who are out of contract was merely covering a loophole, for want of a better phrase.

Most topline European managers (clubs?) seem to accept players doing what they wished as contracts expired but England/Britain seems to have a problem grasping or working with this. Can any legal eagle with an eye to European legislation clarify?

Martin Mason
92 Posted 31/03/2016 at 11:11:35
James at 80, Rom is far better when he's gruntled.

As most clubs find, it's impossible to keep a player who really wants to go and the option of having a valuable asset not being used is not one the club could afford.

I'm sure not letting players go is against EU employment laws because it prevents freedom of movement in employment. If Rom wants to go, he'll go, and there's a quid pro quo for the club in that he will fetch a handsome price.

Eugene Ruane
93 Posted 31/03/2016 at 11:41:14
Jim (79) – Is this national IF week?

"However, if fraud or some other material misrepresentation occurred in the inducement of making the contract, then it may indeed be voided".

Followed by..

"As for Rom, if he was advised he could leave after this season if Everton did not qualify for the Champions League, then should your analysis still hold that he is tied to the contract if he wants out?"


"So, if RM told Rom that he should sign an extended contract under the promise that players would be brought in and the Champions League would be achieved or else Rom could leave at the end of the 2015-16 and then didn't do it"

Sorry but you're posting fantasy as argument – remove all and any 'ifs' from that post, then see what you've got left.

And your suggestion that Premier League contracts (worth millions) are signed with essential caveats missing is more fantasy.

"Yeah I'm deffo going if we don't get Champions League but no need to write that on the contract."

One more thing, you add: " then would have no objection to a player or manager running down his contract and leaving on a free so the club gets nothing in return?"

Presumably (in the case of Lukaku) by 'nothing in return', you mean three more years of a 20+ goals a season striker?

Charles Brewer
94 Posted 31/03/2016 at 13:07:50
Objectively, Rom would be mad not to leave. He's a striker, and only as good as the number of goals he has scored in the last 12 months.

He's going to get battered regularly by defensive goons and even though he is a big strong chap, one nasty stamp (Ratboy-style), one "late" tackle (Keane-style) and he's earning nothing from then on. If he can get some major coverage by playing for a Champions League team (since I don't think I have ever watched a Champions League match, I find it as puzzling as interest in 'celebrities') then he can get himself into a position where he could move to punditry if necessary – in other words, a nice safe sinecure where he needs to product nothing.

My take is that he's pretty bright (maybe not even just "for a footballer") and realises that even though he's only 22, he's got probably little more than 6 years to go where he can be at the top – he's not a Cruyff or a Pele – playing where he does. He's fortunate that his style and physique are not likely to result in a crashing halt like Michael Owen did when some overtight hamstring – his main asset – decides to call it a day, but even so, time is not on his side.

Were I advising him, I'd go for somewhere that will:

(a) pay a fortune to Everton (being a £90 million player will get lots of favourable attention);

(b) has no competition in the local league (eg, France, where there is one team; Spain, where there are two; rather than Italy, where there are lots) so that even a mediocre season will result in 30, 40 or even 50 goals scored mostly against teams with no money; and

(c) guarantee lots of press & TV coverage. He may also want to avoid those places which have dozens of equally good or better players.

So PSG it is!

Sadly, if Martinez had kept the Moyes defence and realised that Liverpool's one-man assault (in two senses) on the Premier League was based on mobility, Everton would probably have won the league this year.

Paul Kossoff
95 Posted 31/03/2016 at 15:39:09
Charles (#94), have you been drinking? Lukaku doesn't get battered by defensive goons as he won't get involved.

Exactly how much do you think he has got in his bank account at the moment? £16, 20 million maybe, if he gave half of it away and never earned another penny, he is a wealthy man.

'Time is not on his side'? – he is 22, for God's sake. If your post was tongue-in-cheek, I apologise; if not, then you're having a laugh aren't you?

Brian Wilkinson
96 Posted 31/03/2016 at 17:59:26
Tony@10 – how many games have we lost playing disjointed, you have hit the nail on the head. Are we playing too much to Lukaku's strength and playing players here there and everywhere.

It happened with Lineker in 86. Superb at getting goals, but our approach completely changed. Kendall put it back in 87 and landed us the title again.

With the Euros coming up, his agent will do everything he can, he will fill Rom's head with Champions League football, league titles, sounds like he's already got into Rom's dad's head.

Sacking Martinez, like someone else said, will give the player extra ammo to leave us if it's out of loyalty. We all want him to stay, but once the Euros start, and he gets teams chasing him, he will be away.

We could play hardball, but I push comes to shove, we may as well take top dollar and move on.

Ian Hollingworth
97 Posted 31/03/2016 at 20:12:56
Here we are in 2016 in the modern world of football. We have a young ambitious player with no loyalty to Everton FC and a greedy agent who specialises in moving his clients between clubs. No surprise there as that's how he makes a living.

We should also not be surprised that, given the above, our young ambitious player would like to move on to a more ambitious football club. Unfortunately Martinez's Everton and performances over the last two seasons have not shown our young ambitious player that we can help achieve his ambitions.

Add that to the fantasy land that our current chairman lives in and we have a situation where we cling to the dream of a cup run or a good derby win. We live in a world of maybe we could win a cup and get sucked along on the ride until it all comes crashing down and the stars we idolise move on.

Unless Everton start showing real ambition, then we will continue on this cycle. Step 1 in showing ambition is to replace a clearly inadequate manager for a proven winner with a credible record in management.

Nick Armitage
98 Posted 01/04/2016 at 13:13:40
Get Martinez out of the club whatever happens.
Phil Walling
99 Posted 01/04/2016 at 15:30:06
Asked on Sky Sports News this morning, 'Is it time for you or Bill or anyone else to sit down with Lukaku and try to persuade him to stay', Martinez replied, 'No, we shall look at the situation at the end of the season. We should not be afraid to lose players, we can compete with any club in the world for the very best. The situation here has changed'.

So there we have it. We can stop fretting!

Nicholas Ryan
100 Posted 03/04/2016 at 03:25:59
If we sell Lukaku for £50 million, and bring in Wilfried Bony for £25 million, I would be upset... but only slightly!
Peter Roberts
102 Posted 04/04/2016 at 12:56:26
Well, if anyone ever needed to understand my views on him, watch the game yesterday again. In the pocket of a 5ft-11in centre-half/DM.... not really bothered were you Rom?

I notice that you hugged all the United players and staff before going down the tunnel and ignoring the away support...

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