GET set for a scramble to sign Chelsea’s apparently unwanted strikers Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku this summer…and I fervently hope that Everton will be the lucky ones when it comes to the latter. The fact that Lukaku has been on loan for the past two seasons, at West Brom and, now, Everton, tells me he, like Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, is not high on manager Jose Mourinho’s radar. He did a great job for the Albion last season and he has been the talismanic striker at Goodison. And the remarkable thing is the lad is still only 20 years old. Lukaku swerved the issue of his club future when questioned this week, diplomatically insisting his focus is on helping Everton claim the fourth, and final, Champions League-qualifying place.
I know, if Chelsea say he is for sale, that the price will be high and that could be a problem for Everton, who do not have a bottomless pit of money and who are a well-run club. Chairman Bill Kenwright and his directors will not be irresponsible when it comes to the transfer market. On the credit side, in terms of Everton’s prospects of hanging on to Lukaku, is the fact that the player knows he is loved by the manager, Roberto Martinez – witness his joyful rush to embrace Martinez after scoring that tremendous goal against Arsenal last week – and that does count for a lot in a player’s mind. That is especially so with strikers, that highly-strung breed of footballer! Witness the post-match interview given by Champions League goal hero Ba the other night, who made little attempt to disguise his disappointment at being overlooked so regularly by Mourinho. I reckon many a manager, here and abroad, will have pricked up their ears.
One thing Lukakau, who has two years remaining on his Chelsea contract, knows for sure is that, if he stays at Goodison, he will be treasured by his manager, his team-mates and the fans, who know a good centre-forward when they see one!