Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea transfer target Romelu Lukaku vows to stay at Everton

West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Everton

By Sean Taylor

Romelu Lukaku has promised to stay at Everton and could even sign a new contract, manager Ronald Koeman has said.

The 23-year-old has been a transfer target for his former club Chelsea this summer but the Londoners have been reluctant to meet Everton's valuation of the striker - reported to be £75m.

Lukaku has expressed a desire to play European football and was frustrated by Everton's 11th-placed finish last season in the Premier League under Roberto Martinez, but the Toffees were determined to keep hold of their biggest asset.

New major shareholder Farhad Moshiri wanted to convince the Belgium international of the project under Koeman, who was appointed in June, and the manager has revealed that Lukaku came to see him on Friday to tell him he plans to stay.

"It is true. He spoke to me yesterday morning (to say) that he made the decision by himself to stay at least one more season at Everton and that is great news for everybody," said Koeman, speaking after Everton's 2-1 win at West Brom on Saturday.

Lukaku did not start at The Hawthorns after recently having a heel injury but he was introduced from the bench seven minutes before half-time as Koeman responded to falling behind to Gareth McAuley's early headed goal by switching the formation.

The big striker impressed against the club with whom he enjoyed a successful loan spell during the 2012/13 season.

Lukaku was not directly involved but the switch did quickly bring a reward as Everton equalised in the final minute of the first half.

A lovely one-touch passing move, started by Kevin Mirallas just outside the penalty area and involving Gareth Barry and Ross Barkley, was given the finish it deserved by Mirallas when he beat Ben Foster with a low shot from 12 yards out.

Barry headed the winning goal from close range after an hour but Koeman felt the timing of the equaliser was crucial.

He said: "Scoring just before half-time had a big impact on the final result, it was a key moment.

"It gave a different situation for us in the dressing room and a different situation for West Brom. In the second half we were really good and played some good football and the substitutes played a big part in the final result."

Belfast Telegraph


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