Everton chiefs reach secret striker agreement - report
By Alex Stevens
Everton chiefs agreed a secret deal last summer to let Romelu Lukaku leave after this season, according to a report.
The Mirror claim the Merseyside club vowed not to stand in the Belgian’s way if they could not secure a top-four finish this season.
It is said that majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and longstanding chairman Bill Kenwright struck the deal for Lukaku to remain for just one more season during talks last summer.
Everton climbed to sixth in the Premier League with a 4-0 win over Hull on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of a Champions League finish, even though they are five points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool, who travel to Manchester City on Sunday.
But if Everton fail to quality for Europe’s top competition, the Mirror report that Moshiri and Kenwright are reluctantly willing to let Lukaku find a new club despite two years remaining on his contract.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
Nonetheless, the Merseyside club have pushed the boat out to convince the striker to stay by offering him a new five-year, £130,000-a-week deal.
Lukaku delivered the news to club chiefs on Tuesday that he would not be extending his current deal, which is due to expire in the summer of 2019.
It has heightened the possibility that Everton will cash in on the Belgium international in the summer amid strong reported interest from Chelsea and Manchester United.
Lukaku has been in prolific form for Everton this season, scoring twice against Hull on Saturday to lift his tally to 22 goals from 30 matches in all competitions, 21 of which have come in the Premier League.
This places the Toffees spearhead top of the league scoring charts ahead of Harry Kane (19), who will miss Spurs’ Premier League clash against Southampton on Sunday and is set to be sidelined for at least a month with ankle ligament damage.
In other Everton news, there is friction at the club between manager Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh.