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Friday 15 December 2017

Romelu Lukaku 'will leave Everton before Euro 2016', says his father after £65m valuation

Romelu Lukaku's father says the striker will leave Everton this summer
Romelu Lukaku's father says the striker will leave Everton this summer

Jack de Menezes

Romelu Lukaku will leave Everton before the start of the Euro 2016 Championship with the Toffees only willing to let him leave if their £65m valuation is matched, according to the striker’s father.

Lukaku looks certain to leave Goodison Park after the club endured a terrible season that led to an 11th-place finish and the dismissal of manager Roberto Martinez. Before the Spaniard was sacked, Lukaku had already expressed his desire to play in the Champions League, and Everton’s drop down the Premier League table suggested heavily that he would not be the club next season.

A number of clubs have been linked with Lukaku, with both Manchester United and Chelsea – his former club – holding talks with the player’s agent Mino Raiola, as well as respective Italian and French champions Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. A return to Stamford Bridge this summer appears unlikely given that Chelsea will not play European football next season due to their 10th-place finish in the Premier League this season, although you would not rule them out returning to the Champions League at the first time of asking in 2017/18.

The fee quoted by Lukaku’s father, Roger, appears to suggest that Juventus will also struggle to compete for the striker unless they generate funds through player sales, leaving United and PSG to fight it out for his signature.

Speaking to Belgian publication Humo, Roger Lukaku said: “Everton are asking around £65m for Rom. I think a transfer will be done before the Euros.

“Romelu will decide his future, but agents have the last word most of the time. I hope and I think Mino Raiola is an honest man.

“Now, with Romelu it will be quickly arranged. Whether the transfer has been sorted? Almost. I think it will be in place before the European Championship.

“He won't go to Italy, because they keep it closed at the back, too difficult for an attacker.

“What is certain, to continue to make progress, he needs to change clubs, but we are mainly engaged in making the right choice.”

The admission sees the Lukaku family put a significant level of faith in Raiola, who is also responsible for PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his impending move away from the French champions when his contract expires at the end of the season. Raiola’s close ties with PSG could result in a deal being brokered to take Lukaku to Paris as a replacement for Ibrahimovic, though the 23-year-old has been linked with United repeatedly over the past year.

There’s a growing resignation at Goodison Park though that the club will be forced to sell Lukaku even though they don’t want to. The striker, who scored 18 Premier League goals this season despite Everton’s struggles, admitted his desire to leave the club back in March, and if his father’s comments are anything to go by then he will decide his new club within the next month as Belgium get their Euro 2016 campaign underway on 13 June against Italy.

“I'm 23 next summer and it would be nice to play in the Champions League next season,” Lukaku said earlier in the season. “I'm really looking for me to measure myself against the absolute top players.”

The only hope Everton have of keeping hold of the former Anderlecht forward is to appoint a manager with an enormous reputation to replace Martinez. Jose Mourinho has been touted as an audacious target for Everton, although it was the Portuguese who sold Lukaku at Chelsea after deciding he was not good enough to break into the first team. That said, Lukaku holds no ill-feeling towards Mourinho and has said in the past that he would be happy to work with his former manager once again.

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