Everton are determined to ensure Romelu Lukaku doesn’t leave this summer with Farhad Moshiri likely to play a key role in determining the striker’s future.
The Liverpool Echo revealed earlier this week that the Toffees will demand a world record fee of £100m for the 23-year-old this summer, a not so subtle attempt to ward off any interest.
Reports in the Italian media claim that Serie A champions Juventus have already been ruled out of the running because of Everton’s £100m price-tag.
Lukaku still has two years left to run on his contract and despite stating he will not sign fresh terms, Everton will not be forced into letting him go prematurely.
Emboldened by the financial backing of Moshiri, Everton are no longer under any financial pressure to sell any of their key assets, with Moshiri himself determined to keep the former Anderlecht youngster at Goodison Park.
Lukaku, initially unhappy at the snubbed bid, spoke to new Everton manager Ronald Koeman in late August to reaffirm his commitment to the club, perhaps aware that Moshiri was not going to change his mind.
He has responded by scoring 25 goals in 34 games in all competitions, topping the Premier League scoring charts and looking on course to win the golden boot.
Though ordinarily letting one of your key players enter the final 18 months of their contract is deemed unwise, even foolhardy, Moshiri is willing to just that.
It’s a calculated gamble no doubt. But Moshiri clearly feels that keeping Lukaku at the club for at least one more season is worth it, even if that risks selling him for lower than his market value next summer (a worst case scenario).
Moshiri has never been anything but calm throughout this saga, telling fans “not to worry” on the day Lukaku told the club he wouldn’t sign a new deal.
His confidence and belief in his methods should fill Evertonians with optimism, even if the wider media seemed determined to see Lukaku leave.
He is also placing trust in Lukaku’s character. The striker is the consummate professional and doesn’t appear the type to go on strike in order to force through a move.
If clubs are unwilling to match Everton’s asking price Lukaku will have little option to keep on playing, aware that a severe dip in his performances could hinder his World Cup place next summer.
He will then be presented with two options - keep playing under his existing contract or sign a new deal that will significantly increase his wages.
That’s the end game Moshiri is clearly hoping for in this saga. If Everton, fuelled by Lukaku’s goals, can pierce the top four next season then even better (the best case scenario).
Whatever happens with Lukaku we have to place our faith in Moshiri to do what’s best for the club .