Hands off Lukaku

LONDON. — Chelsea and Manchester United will have to pay more than £50million to get Romelu Lukaku this summer — and Everton will fight to keep him even if they receive offers of that size.

The Goodison club have made it clear they want star striker Lukaku — who has plundered 25 goals this season — to stay, despite his recent conformation that he wants to play Champions League football.

The Toffees sit 12th in the table, 13 points off the top four but have significant money to spend in the summer after massive recent investment from new major shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

They have made clear they will use some of it to try to hang onto their top players.

And with Lukaku still having three years left to run on his contract, there will be no surrender at Goodison.

Chairman Bill Kenwright has made it clear Belgium international Lukaku will not be allowed to easily walk away.

It is likely to take a bid well in excess of £50m to even get the Toffees to come to the negotiating table — and only then after they have had talks with the 22-year-old over a much improved contract.

There is no shortage of interest in the free-scoring striker, though.

The player’s father Roger has indicated Chelsea — who first signed him from Anderlecht for £18m in 2011 — and Manchester United head the list of English Premier League clubs to have been in touch, with Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain also in the hunt.

And with such a powerful line-up of clubs interested, it is likely any fee would smash through the £50m barrier for a player who cost £28m from Chelsea just 18 months ago.

Lukaku has been increasingly vocal about his desire to leave, telling the Daily Mirror a fortnight ago he was ready to step up to the “next level”, and that it was time for him to play Champions League football.

With Everton having no chance of reaching Europe’s elite competition next season that would suggest a move in the summer, but they will refuse to roll over without a fight. — The Mirror.

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