Lukaku desperate for suitable platform to showcase his skills
Everton have enjoyed a promising opening few months to the 2015/16 season, but there is a growing fear on Merseyside that the club could well lose one of their stars if they can’t shake off their tag of perennial also-rans.
Romelu Lukaku, their club record signing has never hidden his ambitious streak, and unless Roberto Martinez can find a way to end the season in a European qualifying position – be that the Champions League or Europa League – then it is likely that the Toffees will be in the unenviable position of trying to recoup as much of the £28m that they paid Chelsea to secure his services last year.
Earlier this week, Lukaku’s agent spoke to the media to confirm that a move to Paris Saint-Germain – either in January or over the summer – isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, provided that a suitable bid is tabled, and has even suggested that any transfer would come with Roberto Martinez’s blessing.
Quite what the figure tabled would have to be is unclear, but it is hard to see how the giant front-man’s value could have dropped during his time at Goodison Park. Scoring a respectable 15 goals in 46 appearances for the club indicates that he is clearly a key player for Everton, and with players’ values typically being grossly-inflated during the January transfer window, it would probably take in excess of £35m to take Lukaku to France in that transfer window.
Martinez though, will be keen to hang onto his start players as he seeks to take advantage of the perceived power vacuum at the top of the Premier League. Chelsea are faltering, while Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool are failing to hit the heights of recent seasons, and so this could leave a gap for an outsider to break the top-six monopoly.
A key stage of the season therefore, will be the month or so leading up to January – and with a famously condensed fixture list over Christmas, key matches against Norwich, Leicester, Newcastle and Stoke could well decide the fates of both player and club.
The festive period also marks the mid-way point in the season and therefore represents the stage of the season when supporters start to get a fair idea of where their respective clubs might end up in May, naturally resulting in a steady increase in wagers being placed on football with both high street and online bookies.
As a result, Boxing Day has a huge betting market at Betway so take advantage of this by placing a bet on the Toffees to heap more misery on Steve McLaren’s long-suffering Newcastle team in their encounter on Tyneside – provided the former Middlesbrough and England manager is still in the job of course.
Everton’s last fixture away from Goodison Park in 2015 will no doubt have a huge say on whether Lukaku sees his future on Merseyside or at a so-called bigger club, but provided Martinez has 30-35 points in the bag by the time the final whistle goes at St. James Park, then there is no reason why the Belgian should feel the need to look further afield to fulfil his ambitions: all the signs will point to a revival in fortunes for the blue half of Merseyside.