By Amir Mir
Andy Townsend has urged Everton to prove that they are a big club by not allowing Romelu Lukaku to dictate terms on his future.
The 23-year-old striker recently revealed that he will not be signing a new contract with the Premier League club.
This saw his manager Ronald Koeman publicly tell him to “respect” his contract which is due to expire in 2019.
Lukaku is currently the top scorer in the Premier League with 21 goals from 28 games and after his comments, his future will be in doubt this summer.
However, former Aston Villa captain Townsend believes the Toffees should stand firm and keep the player even if it means taking a hit when his contract expires.
“If you want to be a big club then you cannot be dictated to by any individual,” Townsend told BBC Radio Five Live. “If Everton want to be a proper club they may have to swallow in two years time [losing Lukaku for free].
“‘Listen, Romelu, you are not going anywhere and if you walk out the door for nothing we shake your hand and away you go, but in the meantime, we want 25 a season’. You can do that.”
Lukaku scored a brace for his team when they brushed aside relegation strugglers Hull City on Saturday afternoon at Goodison Park.
Koeman’s men are hoping to secure a Europa League spot in the Dutchman’s debut campaign and they briefly moved into sixth after beating Hull before being overtaken by Manchester United following their win at Middlesbrough on Sunday.
There have been four occasions during the course of the season where Lukaku has scored two or more goals for his side.
His best haul came in February when he scored an impressive four goals in front of his supporters against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
In other Everton news, the club have lined up two possible replacements for Romelu Lukaku.