Things took a sour turn at Goodison Park last night, as the news filtered through that Romelu Lukaku has rejected Everton’s five-year contract offer.
The deal would have made the Belgian forward the highest-paid player in Everton’s history, but now the Toffees face a very difficult problem.
It’s believed the breakdown has stemmed from issues over potential contract clauses in the new deal.
And what it all means is that Lukaku’s current agreement runs out in 2019, and as things stand isn’t going to agree an extension anytime soon.
So Everton must make some big decisions.
They could sell the 23-year-old this summer, and command anything up to £60m.
Or they can keep him for another 12 months, and try to grab a Champions League spot while continuing to seek a new contract with their star man.
Finally, they could let his contract run down. That would give Everton two seasons to land a top-four spot, but then say goodbye to Lukaku for nothing in 2019.
However the Toffees board choose to act, our traders say Chelsea are 2/1 favourites to re-sign their former striker.
Manchester United are next in the betting at 6s, ahead of Paris Saint-Germain at 8/1 and Atletico Madrid at 10/1.
If Everton do sell this summer, then they may well be saying goodbye to the reigning Golden Boot winner.
Lukaku’s strike against West Brom last week took his tally to 19 for the first time in his career. It also moved him to the top of the goal charts and with Harry Kane injured, the Toffees striker is now 15/8 favourite to out-score everyone else this season.
Where do you think Lukaku’s future lies? Should he stay at Everton? Let us know in the comments section below.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing