A £100m Lukaku will put off suitors

Romelu Lukaku's stock has risen after scoring 25 league goals for Everton in the just-concluded season.
Romelu Lukaku's stock has risen after scoring 25 league goals for Everton in the just-concluded season.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Everton are bracing themselves for offers from Chelsea and Manchester United for Romelu Lukaku, and believe that their £100 million (S$178.1 million) valuation will stave off interest in their leading scorer.

There is an increasing sense that he will leave Goodison Park this summer, with agent Mino Raiola confident that interested parties will make contact over the Belgium striker.

Jose Mourinho's interest in Lukaku has heightened over the past six weeks because Zlatan Ibrahimovic, another of Raiola's clients, ruptured his posterior and anterior cruciate ligaments during United's Europa League win over Anderlecht in April, and is unlikely to be offered a new deal.

But Raiola said on Wednesday that Ibrahimovic, 35, will hold talks to extend his stay at United despite receiving offers from other clubs.

"He wants to stay in England, he wants to stay at the top and if he sees that he can be a valuable asset for Manchester United, then why not Manchester United?" Raiola told British radio broadcaster TalkSport. "He can be a valuable asset for some other top clubs also. But I think it is respectful to talk to Manchester United and to see what all parties want."

The Dutch agent also claimed on Wednesday that Lukaku struck a gentlemen's agreement 12 months ago that he could leave Everton if "certain clubs" met his price tag and anticipates interest in a forward who scored 25 Premier League goals last season.

THE CONDITIONS MUST BE RIGHT

If the price is right for Everton, and the project is right for Lukaku, then he will want to make another step.

MINO RAIOLA, Romelu Lukaku's agent, on the Belgium forward's willingness to leave for the right price and club.

"Lukaku had a promise that if certain clubs came this summer that he could leave," he told Talksport. "We are not in concrete talks with anybody, but hearing the market I think some clubs will contact Everton. If the price is right for Everton, and the project is right for Lukaku, then he will want to make another step."

Lukaku turned down a new £140,000-a-week contract in March after Raiola had claimed that the deal was 99.9 per cent done. "At that moment we decided not to sign the contract, but I have to say the relationship with the club is very good," the agent said.

Everton signed Lukaku from Chelsea, who were then managed by Mourinho, in 2014 for a fee that could reach £28 million. The newly crowned champions are keen to re-sign him, while Mourinho wants to boost United's firepower.

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2017, with the headline 'A £100m Lukaku will put off suitors'. Print Edition | Subscribe