COMMENT By Matt Farr
Everton face one of their biggest transfer windows in recent memory this summer.
Ronald Koeman is expected to continue his overhaul of the first-team squad at Goodison Park, but he may be dealt a crushing blow by losing two of the club’s most prized assets.
Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku have both thrown their long term futures at the club up in the air, but Everton should make the best out of the situation.
Lukaku is considered to be closer to the Everton exit this summer having already declined a new contract offer from the club and, despite his current value to the team, they should cash-in on him.
With 23 Premier League goals from 31 appearances, Lukaku would be a massive loss to the team. But with the prospect of a £60million-plus transfer on the cards this summer, Everton should not pass up that opportunity.
No matter how valuable he could be in Everton’s pursuit of Champions League football, the 23-year-old can be replaced.
If spent in the right manner – and Koeman will do just that – £60million could go a very long way this summer.
Not only could he identify a suitable replacement for Lukaku, but there should also be enough left to spend to improve other areas of the first-team squad.
You would expect that Lukaku can only get better, given his age and potential. But there is always the possibility that his efforts next season may not be up to their current level.
If he was to stay at Everton for another year, meanwhile, and his standards were to drop, Everton may be looking at a fee well below the £60million mark. It is still a lot of money either way, but selling him now could get them the best possible deal.
The bust-up with Ashley Williams during the draw with Manchester United earlier this month could raise a few concerns. Lukaku appeared to ‘shush’ Williams after the defender appealed for him to work harder.
Williams sat out Everton’s win over Leicester on Sunday through suspension, but it remains to be seen if the pair will still be at loggerheads when reunited on the pitch.
Either way it’s likely that Lukaku’s attitude would drop next year if he’s denied what he obviously sees as a dream move and part of his destiny.
No-matter how good a player, there’s always a time and a price that makes a move sensible. Barring a major injury, that will be this summer for Everton and Lukaku.
In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees have reportedly identified a replacement for Barkley this summer.