Everton spent £28million on Romelu Lukaku during the summer transfer window, but they soon may face a fight to retain his services.
The powerful 21-year-old forward initially arrived at Goodison Park in the summer of 2013 when he joined on loan from Chelsea for the season, and he showed his talent by scoring 15 goals in 31 Premier League appearances. This followed an equally successful temporary spell at west Bromwich Albion in 2012-13, during which he notched 17 times in 35 outings.
Many pundits and supporters alike expected Jose Mourinho to take the Belgian international back to Stamford Bridge ahead of the current campaign and include him in his first team options, but he instead allowed him to join the Toffees on a permanent basis for a club record fee. However, the striker has struggled to find his best form this term, with seven goals in 25 league matches.
Lukaku, who received a good reception from the home fans as Chelsea narrowly overcame Everton on Wednesday night courtesy of a late goal, committed to a five-year contract when he signed for Everton in the summer meaning he is tied to Merseyside club until 2019. However, he is likely to have raised eyebrows by revealing he has alternative plans for the future.
“It was brilliant to play at Chelsea and I had a good reception,” Lukaku told The Sun following his return to the capital. “They know I’m a good player but that I want to develop so I can eventually get back to playing for a club like Chelsea. I don’t have a secret ambition to rejoin — there are other clubs in the world. I just want to grow as a player and eventually arrive at a top club again.”
Lukaku’s comments are unlikely to go down well with Everton fans, who have seen their side struggle to gain any momentum this season having competed for a place in the UEFA Champions League last term. Their defeat at Stamford Bridge – in which the Belgian missed a glorious opportunity – leaves them in twelfth position in the table, and six points adrift of a top-ten finish.