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What Can Koeman do to Persuade Lukaku to Stay?

With the future of Romelu Lukaku in serious doubt we look at how Everton manager Ronald Koeman can persuade the striker to stay.

Romelu Lukaku publicly declined a new lucrative contract offer from Everton recently, stating that he believed the club weren’t ambitious enough. The powerful Belgian is a key asset for Ronald Koeman and Everton, and he could be a pivotal figure in the near future as the Toffees look to break into the top four with the strong financial backing of new owner Farhad Moshiri. Although the deadly finisher would command a huge transfer fee, he would be a lot more useful to the club as a player. So how can Koeman persuade him to stay at Goodison Park?

At 17/20 in the betting markets at the time of writing, Lukaku is now the frontrunner to win the Premier League Golden Boot this season. He has put away 21 league goals (see video below) and has nine games remaining to add to that impressive tally. The 23-year-old has flourished under Koeman this term, producing his highest ever goal return in the top flight.

Everton also seem to be a club on the up under the Dutch manager, and have an outside chance of finishing in the top four. Heading into the final furlong they are only six points behind Liverpool in fourth place, but Manchester United and Arsenal bridge that gap with two games in hand apiece. A sixth or seventh-placed finish is most likely, but fans will be pleased with the clear improvement this term under Koeman.

The highly ambitious former Southampton manager knows that if he can keep the spine of this team and add shrewd signings in the summer, there is a strong chance of upsetting the established hierarchy at the summit of the division. The primary concern is to tie Lukaku to the club, but to offer him a salary of a reported £140,000-a-week could be construed as an insult to a player of his quality in the current big-money climate of world football.

The interest from heavy-hitters has been no secret either, with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United circling around Everton’s prized asset like starving vultures. These clubs could easily afford to pay Lukaku in excess of £200,000-a-week and would also be able to guarantee him the chance to play in Europe. It is no secret that the player who spent most of his time in the reserves while at Stamford Bridge believes that he should now be competing at the highest levels. But Koeman needs to make him realise that at his age, there is plenty of time for that in the future.

With the “no restrictions” financial backing of Moshiri, instead of looking to buy an elite new striker, Everton need to start by massively increasing Lukaku’s salary offer. Then it’s Koeman’s job to make the striker see that he could become an even more coveted player by leading Everton to new heights in England’s top division. Should Lukaku move to Chelsea or United now, he may end up playing second fiddle to Diego Costa or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. At Everton, he will always be the main man.

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