The 7-goal striker was tipped to move on from Goodison Park in the summer, but decided to stick around and has flourished in the club’s strong start to the season.
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Speaking to a Belgian outlet this international break, Koeman compared Lukaku to longtime Dutch star Patrick Kluivert, admitted that Lukaku will have to leave the club to reach his potential. He even mentioned Barcelona, where Koeman played and was an assistant manager.
It’s a curious statement, one that may tick off a bunch of Everton supporters. They may also wonder whether Koeman convinced Lukaku to stay this year by promising he won’t stand in the way come June and winking at his former club in Barca.
“His potential is greater and higher than Everton as a final destination,” Koeman told Belgian newspaper HLN. “If Romelu was to play at Everton until the end of his career I know he has left something behind.”
“I gave him confidence and he has himself recognised that it was good for his development to play another year at Everton. What after this season comes, no-one knows.”
Everton is right in the thick of competition for a place in Europe, and six points off the Top Four.
But the Toffees have yet to play most of their challenging fixtures (they’ve drawn at Man City and home to Spurs, and were waxed 5-0 by Chelsea this weekend).
December looks especially brutal, and Koeman might question his choice of words if Everton navigates the stretch well and still has a look at Europe.
Although you have to admit, Lukaku helping ease the burden within MSN sure would be a tasty proposition.