COMMENT By Matt Farr
Everton’s bid to secure the long-term future of star performer Romelu Lukaku took a turn for the worst on Tuesday, as the striker reportedly snubbed a new contract offer.
The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a summer exit from Goodison Park, and the latest development in his future could see Everton in the market for a new lead goalscorer.
However, Everton must avoid being drawn into a transfer battle for either Wayne Rooney or Jermain Defoe as a potential replacement, as neither can be considered long-term solutions for the club.
Instead, they must focus their attention on a proven goalscorer who can guarantee them more than 20 goals in a single season, to boost them in their quest for Champions League qualification.
Football Insider reveals three ideal successors to the Lukaku goalscoring mantle:
He is one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe this season, with 32 goals from 45 appearances for Celtic, and he would be a fantastic replacement for Lukaku.
Like the Belgian international, Dembele is expected to be on the move this summer, but despite reported interest from a host of Europe’s elite clubs, Everton should join the race.
The 20-year-old has shown such hunger and determination in the final third this season, and has proven to be a constant threat.
He has three hat-tricks already to his name this term, yet while the Premier League represents a much different challenge to that of the Scottish top-tier, he will be more capable than most at making a quick impact. Everton can offer him what a lot of other big clubs can’t – regular first-team top-tier football.
The Lyon attacker joins Dembele among Europe’s elite goalscorers this season, and Everton will need that type of firepower in Lukaku’s absence.
With Lukaku likely to fetch a fee of at least £60million, Everton would have the necessary cash to fund a move for Lacazette, and he would be worth every penny.
He already has 28 goals from 33 appearances in all competitions for Lyon this season, averaging nearly a goal-per-game in the league.
Furthermore, his pace and power makes him arguably the most like-for-like replacement out there for Lukaku.
The most pressing concern for Everton, however, is Lacazette’s desire to play Champions League football, which barring a dramatic late turn of events, is not likely to be on offer at the club next season.
The Frenchman has not quite been as prolific as either Dembele or Lacazette this season, but Gameiro can still make a big impact at Goodison Park.
Gameiro, 29, moved to Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, but could be made available in the summer after an unconvincing start to life at Vicente Calderon.
But he has still managed 14 goals from 38 appearances in all competitions, on the back of a 29-goal haul for Sevilla during the 2015-16 season.
His hold-up play is excellent, while his finishing ability is also top-class, and with the right players around him at Everton he could make a real difference.
In other Everton transfer news, on loan forward Enner Valencia has revealed where he wants to play his football next season.