After 26 Premier League games, very few people would have expected Everton to be languishing in the bottom half of the table. However that is precisely the case for a team with so much talent at its disposal that it really should be fighting for the European places. With the club continually underachieving, they have to be prepared to lose their star striker, Romelu Lukaku.
Only Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy has scored more goals this season than Lukaku, and he is at the top of the table with the Foxes. Harry Kane has scored the same number of goals as the Belgian, and he is another man in with a chance of lifting the ultimate price come the end of the season. Given the goal scoring ability that he has shown in his three seasons for Everton, he should be at a team challenging for the title.
Roberto Martinez has insisted on building a young side at Everton, around the likes of Lukaku, Ross Barkley, and John Stones. Although if Everton can keep all these players at the club they can become a top team in years to come, Lukaku is at the level now where he should be playing among Europe’s elite.
Lukaku has made no secret in the past of his desire to eventually leave Everton and play for a “top club”, and he may be hoping that this comes about sooner rather than later. Although Everton have been tough negotiators in the past when it comes to selling players to the bigger clubs, they may struggle to hold on to the 22-year-old if he makes clear his desire to leave the Toffees.
The former Anderlecht and Chelsea man is unlikely to be short on offers, with Manchester United expected to enter the market for a striker given their difficulties up top this season, while there could also be interest from Manchester City, with Wilfried Bony continuing to struggle to find the net at the Etihad Stadium.
Unless Everton can reach the European places this season, they may struggle to keep their main man. The club may have already made moves to replace Lukaku, after they bought Oumar Niasse from Lokomotiv Moscow in January for a fee believed to be £13.5 million.
Everton must do all they can to keep hold of Lukaku given how important he is for their team, but this might not be possible, and they may just have to begin planning for the future.