It appears that the worst fears of Everton fans are about to come true after all. On Saturday it looked like Romelu Lukaku was just joking when he told Belgian media source PlaySports that he would not be signing the new contract. Even the Everton media person standing next to him was smiling.
Are you going to sign that new contract?— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) March 13, 2017
- Lukaku: "No."
Are you still reflecting about it?
- RL: "No."
Is there an agreement?
- RL: "No." pic.twitter.com/dgJYyJUBur
The next thing that came out was that Everton were the ones holding up progress on the new contract as they insisted on a £90m buyout clause in the new £140,000-per-week, five-year deal.
But now multiple reliable media sources are reporting that Lukaku has had a change of heart and wants Champions League football next season. Which will mean he wants a transfer out of Everton this coming summer, and the bidding war will likely commence forthwith.
His refusal to sign a new contract at this stage likely only hurts him as he is still on a reported £90,000-a-week contract until the end of the season, with two years still left on it.
Everton have always been reconciled to losing the striker, and will have lost leverage with his open announcement to leave, but also have the luxury of selling to the highest bidder there is since Lukaku is still an Everton player on paper.