By Matt Farr
Everton boss Ronald Koeman has hailed Romelu Lukaku as a world-class finisher on a par with the greats of Dutch football following his four-goal haul against Bournemouth.
The 23-year-old striker scored four times as Everton beat Bournemouth 6-3 a week ago, taking his tally for the season to 17 goals from 25 appearances in all competitions this season.
Lukaku boasts one of the best goalscoring records in the Premier League, and Koeman believes the Belgium international is an outstanding talent who has qualities to compare with the best of his own era.
The Toffees chief played alongside the likes of Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Johan Cruyff during his playing career, and insists Lukaku is just as good in one respect as the legendary Dutch trio – a huge statement from Koeman.
He told the Mirror: “He’s one of the best, even comparing him to the players in my time. He is world class in his finishing.
“He really is that good, although he needs to improve in a total picture as a player – but that part of him is world class. We know if we give him the chances, normally he will score the goals.”
Koeman does though, face a tough battle to keep his star goalscorer at the club for the long-term, with his form continuing to attract interest from some of Europe’s elite clubs.
Lukaku’s agent Mino Raiola admitted on Thursday that talks had already begun with the Merseyside club over a new long-term deal, and that he would commit his future to the club.
His current deal is set to expire in June 2019, but with both Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain showing a keen interest, Everton are desperate to keep hold of their talisman.
If he does sign a new deal, it will be a big indication of the progress that has been made since Lukaku requested a move away from the club back in the summer.
In other Everton news, Mark Lawrenson has made his prediction for Everton’s upcoming clash with Middlesbrough.