There could be a scramble for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in the summer transfer window as the Belgium international rejected the most lucrative contract offer in the club’s history.
For weeks, Lukaku, who scored 19 goals in the Premier League this season, looked set to extend his stay at Goodison Park.
His agent, Mino Raiola, had also insisted repeatedly that Lukaku would accept lucrative new terms, claiming that the player had agreed “99.9%” to a £100,000-a-week deal that would have made him the best-paid player in the club’s history.
However, Everton manager Ronald Koeman felt uncertainty towards Raiola’s claims. His doubts seemed to be supported by Romelu Lukaku’s own interview with Belgian television. When asked whether he was about to sign the five-year contract on offer and if talks were taking place, the striker simply replied with the word “no” in each case.
Lukaku’s decision is believed to be led by his ambition to play in the Champions League. His performances suggest he could hold his own at that level but with Everton having no realistic chance of cracking the top four this season and it is hard to see how the situation could change.
But there will be no shortage of bidders for the 23-year-old as Chelsea made an inquiry about re-signing him last summer, and Manchester United is also thought to be interested. And being aware that he is coveted by a number of Champions League regulars, he could very well push for a move this summer despite having two years left on his contract with Everton.
In the meantime, the Merseyside club had made no official comment to make on the matter, although a Goodison insider indicated there was still much common ground between club and agent.
“A deal is on the table and there is plenty of time,” he said. “There is hope all round that it will be signed.”