In Focus: Unhappy Everton striker eyed by European giants; Toffees must stand firm

According to reports in The Sun, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is a summer transfer target for Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus after telling the club he won’t be signing a new deal.

What’s the story, then?

Well, despite reports on talkSPORT last week that Lukaku was on the verge of signing a new five-year contract at Goodison Park, the 23-year-old instead told the club on Tuesday that he would be turning down a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in Everton’s history as he wants to play Champions League football.

That news would have alerted the Belgian’s former club Chelsea – who tried to bring the attacker back to Stamford Bridge last summer – and Manchester United, while Juventus and Real Madrid could also be interested as they look to strengthen their attacking options this summer.

Could he leave this summer?

It depends on a few things.

Firstly, will Ronald Koeman still want a player that he knows doesn’t really want to be at the club? The Dutchman did have a similar situation when he was in charge of Southampton with one of his current players Morgan Schneiderlin, who was convinced to stay at St Mary’s for another year before making his exit.

However, with Lukaku’s contract not running out until 2019, they could easily tell him that he has to honour it.

Secondly, it could depend on the offers that come in.

The Toffees aren’t exactly short of cash and they won’t need to accept any old bid, meaning it could take a enormous amount of money to convince the Merseyside club to cash in on the striker.

How would Everton replace him?

It would be difficult.

The Belgian is the joint-top goalscorer in the top flight this season with 19 goals, and he also recently became the club’s all-time leading marksman in the Premier League era with a current total of 62 even though he is yet to finish his fourth season at Goodison.

It isn’t easy to find someone as prolific as that, but they would certainly trust director of football Steve Walsh, who discovered N’Golo Kante for Leicester, to find an able replacement.

Article title: In Focus: Unhappy Everton striker eyed by European giants; Toffees must stand firm

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