Romelu Lukaku has shown this season that he is a world-class performer and now is the time for him to move onto a stage more befitting his talents.
Lukaku wants silverware in his career, there is nothing wrong with that – indeed you have to admire that, a young man who has real ambition and that is the main reason he has turned down an offer of a new contract at Everton.
Unfortunately the way in which the current saga has come to light, has left a sour taste. Lukaku was close to agreeing a new big money contract and the club thought the deal was done.
But an issue, understood to be other the size of the release clause, has derailed the talks. Lukaku was quick to speak on the issue in early March saying he would not be signing, and he confirm he would not be revisiting the issue more recently.
For Lukaku, it is easy to see why he would want to move. He is just finishing his fourth season at Goodison Park, which includes one on-loan on Merseyside.
Over 80 goals in just over 150 games have followed, including over 20 in the Premier League this season – where he is currently top-scorer.
Enjoy all Lukaku's 2016/17 goals so far… pic.twitter.com/JsOP73Wo1Z
— Everton (@Everton) March 21, 2017
He has grabbed 28 goals in his last 31 for club and country, so it is no surprise Everton want him to commit to them – but Lukaku is clearly tired of not competing for medals.
That is not to say Everton have not improved during his four-year tenure, they clearly have but not as much as he needs them to have – Lukaku has out-grown Everton as they stand.
Everton are progressing under Ronald Koeman, have new investment and have plans for a new stadium – but Lukaku will be 24 by the time this season ends, and the current rate of progression just does not fit with him.
Lukaku is part of a ‘Golden’ generation for Belgium – but he must clearly glare across the changing room looking at the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne – who are all challenging for medals in England.
Everton are – in all likelihood – going to finish seventh in the Premier League this season, which with their squad is about as good as they can do, sixth at a push, but that is not gone to make any world-class performer happy and that is just what Lukaku is now.
Everton will be telling Lukaku that he can achieve his goals with them – but that simply is not the case, and they should not hold that against him. He has served served them well, he has done his best for them – but Everton must now accept that Lukaku has outgrown them and needs to be allowed to move on.
He has served served them well, he has done his best for them – but Everton must now accept that Lukaku has outgrown them and needs to be allowed to move on.