Sky Sports expert Tony Cottee thinks his former club Everton should pay whatever it takes to keep Romelu Lukaku.
Cottee thinks replacing the in-form goalscorer would be very difficult, whatever transfer fee might be received, but that a Champions League finish is achievable if Lukaku stays at Goodison Park.
The in-form Lukaku bagged a late equaliser for Belgium on Saturday and has now scored five goals in his last five for club and country.
And the 23-year-old will be leading the Everton line this Saturday when Ronald Koeman’s men bid for a first win in 18 years over Liverpool at Anfield (live on Sky Sports 1).
However, Lukaku may not play in any more Merseyside derbies, having apparently decided against signing a new deal.
And Cottee told Premier League Daily: “The Lukaku situation is frustrating. If you’re an Everton fan, you want it to be sorted out.
“You don’t want to be reading that your top striker is 99 per cent certain of signing a contract and then, all of a sudden, he is not going to sign.
“I think only that man himself, Lukaku, knows the answer to it.
“The one thing you can’t deny is he is still only 23 years of age, he has been in outstanding form this season, and he is one of the top strikers in Europe.
“Some people would say, if he doesn’t want to be there, you cash in and you get the money.
“But, you try replacing him. Get your £50m, £60m, and try finding a striker that is going to fit that criteria.
“If it is about money, give him whatever he wants. Even if it is £250,000 a week.
“If you keep that player and he scores the goals that get you in the Champions League, it is an absolute bargain.”
Former Scotland international Neil McCann was also on Premier League Daily and he does not think Everton boss Ronald Koeman would be fazed by Lukaku’s departure.
“I have to say, Ronald Koeman does not strike me as the type of manager who will cry himself to sleep at night if Lukaku does decide to go,” said McCann.
“I think he’ll say ‘right, on your way, appreciate what you’ve done for the club’, get the money and use it well.
“Ronald is a very good coach and one who seems to me is on the upward scale. I would believe that he would already have targets in mind.
“If you concentrate too much on one guy, it can affect other areas of the team.”
But Cottee thinks Everton are a club on the up and may yet get at least one more campaign out of their leading goalscorer.
“I think he owes Everton one more season,” Cottee added.
“I don’t agree that Everton aren’t going in the right direction, they are looking at a brand new stadium.
“If they were to beat Liverpool, they are hot on their heels, and have an outside chance still of getting in the Champions League.
“Next season they will be pushing more, spending money, and they will have a real charge at it.
“I think he should stay for one more season.”
Source: The Nigerian Voice (sport)