Romelu Lukaku has decided now is the time to take the next step in his soccer career.
The Everton striker abruptly ended talks over a new contract Tuesday in an apparent refusal to commit his long-term future to the club, according to The Mail’s Dominic King, The Guardian’s Mark Dobson and Paul Wilson and other sources. The news has stunned the Toffees, who were confident Lukaku would sign a new deal in the coming days.
This development will spark a race for his services in this summer’s transfer market. Lukaku, 23, reportedly is determined to play in the UEFA Champions League next season, and Everton is unlikely to qualify for the competition based on this season’s results in the Premier League.
Lukaku’s current contract will expire in July 2019. This summer will be the window in which Everton can sell him for maximum value.
Some have speculated he’ll command a transfer fee of around £65 million ($79 million), but Everton rejected a similar bid from Chelsea last summer, and the landscape has changed in his favor since then. He’s the joint top goal scorer in the Premier League with 19 goals and is vital to Everton’s pursuit of success.
Chelsea and Manchester United reportedly are planning to bid for him this summer. Arsenal and Manchester City also could use a front-line striker. Other potential interested teams include Real Madrid, Juventus and perhaps one or more clubs in China. Who wouldn’t want a young, ambitious and proven goal-scorer.
Just two players who we expect to be on the transfer market this summer could be worth as much or more than Lukaku. But neither Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nor Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann have all-but announced their desire to move like Lukaku.
So the 2017 transfer market could be Lukaku’s world, and we’ll all spend a few months living in it.
Thumbnail photo via LiverpoolFC.com