Former Everton forward Graeme Sharp believes that his old side will be unable to keep Romelu Lukaku at the club if they miss out on Champions League qualification.

The powerful Belgian striker has enjoyed an excellent season on loan at Goodison Park from Chelsea, banging in 13 goals to keep the Merseysiders in contention for a top four finish.

But following their shock midweek loss against Crystal Palace, Everton are now a point off of Arsenal in the pursuit of the last spot in Europe’s top competition, and face a more difficult run-in than their London rivals.

Lukaku has hinted in the past that he is ready to play Champions League football, and Sharp believes that Roberto Martinez will need to guarantee him just that to make his stay a permanent one when the transfer window opens:

“The Lukaku situation will take care of itself. He’s said he wants to play in the Champions League. Now if Everton don’t get in that fourth spot, that answers its own question there.” He is quoted by talkSPORT.

“Where does he get Champions League football from though? I don’t think Chelsea will take him back to be honest.”

Sharp also doesn’t know if Everton can afford to fund a move for Lukaku, who is valued at over £20m:

“I honestly don’t believe Jose Mourinho fancies Lukaku, I think if he can sell him and bring somebody else in, he will do.

“But he wants the best price for Lukaku and in the last couple years he’s got a great goalscoring record with West Brom and Everton as well, so the price goes up.

“I don’t know what the transfer budget at Everton is and what Roberto Martinez has got to spend in the summer but if he loses [Gareth] Barry and [Gerard] Deulofeu, I don’t know whether he can afford to spend it all on a centre-forward.”

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