By Alex Stevens
Everton are ready to open talks with Romelu Lukaku on a new contract worth more than £100,000-a-week, according to a report.
The Mirror claim the Merseysiders are prepared to make the 23-year-old their highest-paid player ever on a long-term contract.
This comes after striker Lukaku told Everton manager Ronald Koeman that he will ignore overtures from Chelsea to stay at Goodison Park for at least another season.
The news is a massive boost for new boss Koeman, who has maintained since taking the Everton job in June that persuading the powerful Belgium international to stay was one of his prime ambitions.
Speaking after Saturday’s 2-1 win over West Brom , Koeman told the Mirror: “It’s true. Romelu spoke to me yesterday morning that he made a decision by himself to stay at least one more season.”
Sky Sports reported that the Belgium international had previously asked for a move away from Goodison Park amid strong interest from Chelsea.
Koeman has now informed supporters that the 23-year-old wants to stay with the club, following his talks with the player.
“His decision is the same value as a big money transfer,”Koeman wrote in his column in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, as quoted by the Sky Sports website.. “He is not only a good player but a fine person. He lives his football in the fashion that you would want a top footballer to.
“It is great to work with him and I think he had seen that we want to engineer improvement at every corner. To develop him into a really top player is the challenge before me.”
Lukaku left Chelsea two years ago when he became the Merseysiders’ £28million club-record signing following an impressive season on loan at the club.
The Belgium international has starred in 127 encounters for Everton, which includes an initial season-long loan before his permanent move, scoring 61 goals.
In other Everton transfer news, Kevin Mirallas delivers his verdict on the club’s new attacking addition.