It’s become more and more apparent that Romelu Lukaku will make an Everton exit, but the question remains: when exactly?
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The Belgian international has made his feelings clear that he wants the opportunity to participate in Champions League football, and while Everton have had a fantastic season under first-year manager Ronald Koeman, that possibility is far gone.
In regards to a new contract, Koeman addressed the media on Thursday, saying that although a deal may be in the works nothing has been completed as of yet.
“First of all the deal wasn’t agreed. 99.9 per cent is not 100 per cent and they are still trying to get the contract over the line,” Koeman told a pre-match press conference on Thursday. “And that’s what I know from the board of the club.
“Of course I am not happy about that interview because if Everton is not a club with a lot of ambition then I’m not the manager. The second is, and I spoke with Rom this morning, I know it’s difficult but if you are a player prepare yourself to play good, to score goals and we know he is one of the best, and the rest needs to be done by the manager and the board.
Koeman insisted that he isn’t worried about Lukaku’s situation because the striker still has two year remaining on his current deal.
“A message for everyone: every day Everton and the manager are trying to get the best team we can. You can show good players that they see ambition and that the club is progressing and talking about a new stadium then that is enough stuff to understand Everton is in a good direction.
“I’m not so afraid about the situation because the player has two more years of his contract. Everyone knows anything can happen in football but you have to respect your contract. His behaviour, except some quotes in this interview, is what I like in a player. No need to take him out of the team.”
Lukaku has proven himself yet again in 2016/17, making the 23-year-old striker one of the most attractive attacking commodities in England.
The Belgium front man has scored 10 or more goals in five consecutive PL seasons, including 19 this campaign for the Toffees, who currently sit seventh in the table.
While Lukaku’s situation could put Everton in a major predicament if their top scorer does exit at some point, Koeman has no intention of removing the star striker from his lineup.
“He has two years on his contract at Everton,” Koeman said. “Everybody knows there was an agreement and it’s up to the board to get the deal done.
“I think when we start again after the international break the club will mention a message on how is Romelu. If the player shows his commitment to the team, club, fans, even not signing a contract, is no problem for myself.”Follow @MattReedFutbol