Romelu Lukaku has earned the right to demand a Champions League stage

Monday March 20th, 2017

Romelu Lukaku made history for Everton this weekend, as his two goals in the 4-0 win over Hull made him the club’s first player in 31 years to score 20 league goals in a season. The fact that he had prefaced it with a clear call for ambition at Everton was lost on no one.

In an interview before the match, Lukaku had said he was one of the best strikers in the Premier League, and now wants to be one of the best in the world. “To do that, you need the platform to show yourself. Then you are talking about Champions League and whatever types of games,” he said.

He was frustrated that Everton had not signed players in January when it had an opportunity to do so. But he never said he wanted to leave.

Everton is reportedly still confident that Lukaku will sign a new contract to stay at the club. And while coach Ronald Koeman says that the Belgian should stay loyal to his contract, it appears that the end game is in sight. Koeman left PSV Eindhoven for Valencia because it was a step up; Slaven Bilic, who had his own star-player saga this season with Dimitri Payet, left West Ham for Everton in his playing days for the same reason. Coaches may want to keep their best players, but conveniently forget themselves when they do so. Why shouldn’t Lukaku move to a club that can give him Champions League matches?

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Lukaku is still only 23 and has topped 20 goals in all competitions for the last three seasons. He even managed 17 for West Brom as an 18-year-old. He has been at Everton for four years and is now ready for a bigger stage. That shouldn’t be grounds for a new battle. Everton could sell Lukaku and still be ambitious (though perhaps not if it follows through with the desire to sign Wayne Rooney). Youngsters like Tom Davies, Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin point to an exciting future at Goodison Park. Let’s hope this does not turn into a he-said-but-he-said saga or sour the brilliant player Lukaku has been for Everton.

If he does not accept Everton’s huge contract offer, then there should be no bitterness. Let him leave and wish him success for the future. He deserves it.

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