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Koeman talks up Lukaku departure

Boss suggests Romelu’s future lies away from Goodison Park

Everton v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton boss Ronald Koeman has praised star striker Romelu Lukaku - but not all supporters will be happy with what he has to say.

Speaking to the Dutch media Koeman stated his belief that the 23-year-old can go on to be one of the best strikers in the game.

The Toffees boss compared Lukaku to his compatriot Patrick Kluivert, who won nine major trophies at clubs such as Ajax, Milan and Barcelona as well scoring 40 goals in 78 international appearances.

However, Koeman also believes Lukaku will outgrow his current employers, and a move sooner rather than later would be beneficial for his career.

Since joining, initially on-loan, from Chelsea in 2013 Lukaku has been a key player for the Toffees, scoring 68 goals in 137 appearances.

Speaking to HLN, Koeman said:

"Lukaku has the potential to become an amazing striker. He is still only 23 years old and is only getting better.

"Everton should normally not be the end for him. Romelu will not have made the most of his career if he plays for Everton for the remainder of his career.

"He has the potential to play for a bigger club than Everton.

"But nobody knows what will happen after this season. We have a good relationship.

"His attacking movement is great. I think he can still contribute more defensively.

"I think he can emulate Patrick Kluivert, who also rose to prominence at a young age and enjoyed a fantastic career.

"He eventually played for Barcelona and I can see Lukaku doing the same."

Koeman’s brutal honesty has been a refreshing change this season following the hyperbole of Roberto Martinez.

However, it does mean facing up to some rather harsh truths.

We all grudgingly accept that Lukaku will leave sooner rather than later, but hearing it from our own manager stings.

Effectively nudging Lukaku, a player we rely on so heavily, closer to the exit door seems unwise and a touch reckless.

Reckless, though, is not a word associated with a thoughtful, fastidious character like Koeman.

It appears Koeman is simply challenging Lukaku to fulfill his potential while warning the board as to the consequences of standing still.

I also presume Koeman’s awareness of Lukaku’s fierce ambition and burgeoning potential means he is already readying moves for potential replacements.