Football

Lukaku may not stay at Everton even with new deal

Romelu Lukaku's agent Mino Raiola claims a new contract is "99.9 per cent" done, but offered no guarantees the striker would stay at Everton long-term.

The Belgium international, whose current deal runs until 2019, is set to become the club's first £100,000 (S$180,000)-plus-a-week player.

Everton fended off interest for the 23-year-old in the summer, but Raiola said a new contract would not prevent him leaving at the end of the season.

"With Everton, we have 99.9 per cent reached terms," he said.

"We are talking to the club in a good spirit, so we are very hopeful. I don't see any big problems. It is a question of putting the details on the paper."

Lukaku joined the Toffees from Chelsea for a club-record £28 million in 2014 and has scored 70 goals in 142 appearances. He also became the first Everton player since Gary Lineker to score 25 league goals in a single campaign.

That form attracted interest from a number of clubs, but Everton were able to resist advances and persuade Lukaku to stay to work under new manager Ronald Koeman.

However, there is likely to be a repeat at the end of this season and Raiola gave no assurances the outcome would be the same.

"If Romelu is good enough, strong enough, to move in the next year then we will talk to Everton about it," he said.

"It is a very good relationship at the moment. We know what both parties want.

"Everton are going through a transition... From aiming for Europa League, now they are more ambitious and, maybe in the near future, will go into the Champions League or maybe even win the EPL.

"In football, you can't look too much in front. You need to take it one transfer window at a time. For now, we are agreeing terms and then we will see in the summer what happens.

"If there is an interest from both parties to move on, then we will talk with the club but, at this point, we have only one objective and that is to perform as well as possible for Everton." - PA SPORT

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