Lukaku makes plea to play in Europe

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku has stated his desire to play in the Champions League, which his current club Everton is most unlikely to qualify for next season.
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku has stated his desire to play in the Champions League, which his current club Everton is most unlikely to qualify for next season. PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS • Romelu Lukaku has made plain his dissatisfaction at Everton's campaign by expressing a desire to play Champions League football, indicating he may well see his future away from the Premier League club next season.

Lukaku, scorer of 25 goals this season, is with Belgium in Brussels as they prepare for the rearranged friendly with Portugal tomorrow.

The former Chelsea striker said "the next step" for him would be to play in Europe's elite club competition, for which Everton, 12th in the Premier League and 13 points shy of Manchester City in fourth place, have virtually no chance of qualifying.

"That is the next step for me. I'm 23 next summer and I think it would be nice to play in the Champions League from next season," he told Sky Sports.

Lukaku's father has urged his son to seek a move away from Everton and the striker said he welcomes being linked with Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

"That is my dad's point of view; I think those are the teams he likes," Everton's top scorer said. "It means people are keeping an eye on you. I have an agent who is dealing with this for me at the moment. I just want to be good, help my team-mates win games and score lots of goals."

His father, Roger Lukaku, had told Belgium's Het Laatste Nieuws: "I see that there is interest from Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Chelsea and Manchester United.

"He's ready. In my eyes, Rom has to join Bayern or Manchester United.

"United are a team under construction with no real focus. Bayern Munich are a machine where he can rotate well. The only condition is if Robert Lewandowski leaves."

The Belgian has also been linked with a return to Chelsea, the club he left for £28 million in 2014 but he was clear he had no unfinished business there.

"I don't think I have anything to prove against them," he said. "I moved on, they moved on. It was the best deal for both teams because they won the league and I became a better player so we will see what the future brings."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2016, with the headline 'Lukaku makes plea to play in Europe'. Print Edition | Subscribe