| 7.1°C Dublin

Farhad Moshiri moves to reassure Everton fans about Romelu Lukaku's future


Romelu Lukaku has scored 19 goals in the Premier League for Everton this season

Romelu Lukaku has scored 19 goals in the Premier League for Everton this season

Romelu Lukaku has scored 19 goals in the Premier League for Everton this season

Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has moved to reassure fans about Romelu Lukaku's future at the club.

Speculation that the striker will leave Goodison Park has reached a new level after he told Everton he does not want to sign the new contract on the table.

But the Toffees remain determined to tie their star asset to an extended deal, which would make him the club's first £100,000-plus-a-week player.

Moshiri told talkSPORT: "It's not an issue. The club is confident with the strong relationship it has with the player and the agent.

"He has over two years left on his contract and the new, improved contract is recognition of what he's done for the club. No one should worry, he is our player."

Only last week, Lukaku's agent Mino Raiola claimed the deal was ''99.99999999'' per cent done but the 23-year-old appears to have had a change of heart.

At the weekend a Belgian broadcaster asked Lukaku whether he was going to sign the contract, whether he was still reflecting on it and whether there was an agreement and to each question the striker simply answered 'No'.

Suggestions then began to emerge that there was a disagreement over a proposed release clause, with Everton wanting it set at £90million - which would require any club to break the world record transfer fee - and Lukaku's side looking for the figure to be closer to £70million.

Press Association Sport understands further developments have now apparently seen the player inform the club after training on Tuesday that the new contract would remain unsigned.

Lukaku, who is the Premier League's joint top goalscorer with Harry Kane on 19, has emerged as one of Europe's top talents and has regularly spoken about his desire to play in the Champions League.

Everton have been the best of the rest behind the big six under manager Ronald Koeman this season but remain eight points adrift of Liverpool in fourth.

Former Everton captain Phil Neville believes the club must do everything they can to hang on to Lukaku.

Neville told BBC Radio Five Live: "I think (the contract situation has) been building for the last six to 12 months.

"Everton have the stranglehold at the moment because he's got two years left on his contract so there is no real rush to sell him and there is still time for him to agree a new contract. I think the Everton fans should remain calm.

"If Ronald Koeman's building a side that's willing to challenge for a Champions League place, he has to keep hold of Romelu Lukaku because to replace him Everton will have to spend £40-50million.

"His goal-scoring record is as good as anything in the league and I don't see a replacement out there would could come in and have the type of impact he's had."

PA Media