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Romelu Lukaku says he could stay at Everton

The Belgian hitman has hinted he may be willing to extend his stay at Goodison Park - but only if they make the top four.

Alex Livesey

Something strange went on between Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea at the start of the season.

The striker began the campaign as a member of the first-team squad and looked set to be a regular, albeit in competition with the likes of Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto'o.

However, fresh from missing a penalty in the Super Cup final shoot-out with Bayern, Lukaku was soon cast out on-loan, with Merseyside his destination.

Jose Mourinho has previously hinted that he wanted the striker to stay in West London and that it was Lukaku who pushed for the move.

That certainly seems the case following an interview with Lukaku by the BBC, where he said playing competitive football week-in, week-out was the most important thing for his career, which is to his credit given the amount of young players who seem content to simply pick up their wages and rot in the reserves these days.

The move has certainly paid off, shown by his blistering start to life at Everton, with eight goals in just seven games so far.

He has now dropped the first hint that he may be willing to stay on at the club next season, either on loan or on a permanent deal, music to the ears of Everton fans everywhere.

However, it comes with one small caveat - we finish in the top four.

When asked about possibly staying at Everton, Lukaku said:

"It's not a bad idea. If we play Champions League, yeah, why not? I was watching the games this week and I miss European football a lot.

"I would like to be successful at Chelsea but I have to work and grow and be a better player and then at the end of the season see what is the best decision for my career.

"It was not the fact that I was not wanted, I was wanted but I had to make a decision for myself. I had to analyse what the best was for me. Imagine if I was playing Chelsea now, I would play maybe five games maybe score one or two goals.

"Look now I'm playing for Everton, I've played eight games and scored seven goals. Everybody in England is talking about me about my performances and as a player I'm improving, I'm having that certain consistency in my game."

Now, breaching the top four is going to be a huge ask but this season is turning out to be one of the most unpredictable in years, with no-one looking as though they will pull away at the top.

With everyone beating each other there is a real chance that a side like Everton could sneak in between the big boys, especially if Lukaku can keep up his form.

In order to do that investment in the squad in January, even if it is a couple of loans, would be essential.

Everton have always failed to strengthen during the winter window in the past, meaning they have fallen away from the division's top pace setters.

But if Roberto Martinez can add one or two players to a squad that has lost just one league game so far this season - away at Man City - then why can't Everton finish in the top four?

The next hurdle would be the transfer fee. Lukaku cost £10million plus a further £7million in add-ons when he joined Chelsea in 2011 so I would imagine they would want at least that fee, if not considerably more.

Even with Champions League qualification Everton would struggle to afford such a figure unless a key first-teamer was sold. Which begs the question:

Would you sell Leighton Baines if it meant we could sign Lukaku?

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