Former Everton striker Tony Cottee has told Sky Sports that the Merseyside club should give Romelu Lukaku “whatever he wants” in order to keep him at Goodison Park.
The Belgian international has still not put pen to paper on a new Everton contract.
Widespread reports have claimed that the 23-year-old turned down an offer on the table, but he still has two years remaining on his current deal.
The 23-year-old, who is the leading Premier League scorer with 21 goals, publicly questioned the club’s ability to win trophies and attract top-quality players.
Cottee believes that Everton need Lukaku more than he needs them, so the club should give in and meet his demands.
He told Sky Sports:
“The Lukaku situation is frustrating. If you are an Everton fan, you want it to be sorted out. You don’t want to be reading that your top striker is 99 per cent certain of signing a contract and then, all of a sudden, he is not going to sign.
“I think only that man himself, Lukaku, knows the answer to it. If it is about money, give him whatever he wants. Even if it is £250,000-a-week. If you keep that player and he scores the goals that get you in the Champions League, it is an absolute bargain.”
The 51-year-old has a point in that Lukaku is hugely valuable to Everton, given how frequently he finds the back of the net.
The fact that he has scored five goals in his last five outings for club and country proves how important he is.
In this day and age there is a lot of discussion about player power, and in this case, Everton need to decide which way they turn.
The club are in a decent negotiating position seeing that Lukaku still has two years on his contract, but if they do not meet his demands, he will have a pick of clubs to choose from, and then it is about agreeing a price.
A huge positive would be keeping the striker for a few more years if they meet his every request, but it could cause problems among other members of the squad that may not feel as valued.
Whatever eventually happens, one thing is for sure – Lukaku will dominate this summer’s transfer window.