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Ronald Koeman wants 'improved' top scorer Romelu Lukaku to stay at Everton Featured

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Published in England Premier League
Saturday, 22 April 2017 10:40

Everton's Ronald Koeman wants to keep Romelu Lukaku, saying the Premier League's top scorer has improved significantly since he became the Merseyside club's manager at the start of the season.

British media reported this week that Everton were asking a world record fee of £100million for the 23-year-old Belgian international, who has scored 24 league goals in this campaign.

"He's now a better striker for the team than he was at this time last year," Koeman told a news conference ahead of his team's trip to 13th-placed West Ham, who have landed only one victory in their last nine league games, on Saturday.

"If someone's interested they'll call the board of the club and they'll speak about it but we want to keep him. Every team wants goal scorers because they make points for the team."
Everton have lost only two league games in 2017 and are lying seventh in the league, level on points with sixth-placed Arsenal, although they have played two more games.

Koeman is targeting a top-five finish to secure guaranteed qualification to the Europa League next season and he hopes to remain in contention when Everton visit the Emirates in the last game of the season.
"That's our target [fifth place]...if we're still in the mix when we play Arsenal at the end of the season it will be really nice," the former Southampton boss said, adding that he expects to make several additions to his squad next season should they be playing European football.

“We know that we have to be prepared in the number of players we have. To have a lot of competition and that's a challenge," the Dutchman added.

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    For much of the summer it had appeared that the 24-year-old was bound to leave Everton for Chelsea, only for United to swoop in and gazump his former club.

    Mourinho was in charge when Lukaku was given the green light to leave Stamford Bridge, but three years on he now sees the striker as a key piece of the jigsaw at Old Trafford.

    United forked out an initial £75million for the Belgium international, whose mind was made up by his manager's plans rather than the persuasive powers of close friend Paul Pogba.
    "We were just on holiday together," Lukaku said of the United and France midfielder, who he was away with in Los Angeles as the move was completed.

    "At the end of the day I had to make my own choices. It was the conversation I had with the manager that really convinced me the most, the plans and how he wanted to rebuild the club and he wanted me to be part of it.

    "I am grateful for the chance."

    Lukaku has big boots to fill following the exit of injured top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the club's all-time leading marksman Wayne Rooney.

    However, the 24-year-old's impressive ratio for Everton suggests he is ready to step up at Old Trafford - and the striker is clearly raring to go.
    "It feels great (to be a United player)," Lukaku said in Washington. "It is something I always wanted.

    "I always wanted to play for a club of this stature. Now I am here I want to take my chance and try to deliver as much as I could for the club.

    "I don't want to talk about personal ambitions. I just want to work hard on a daily basis and win as many games as I can."

    Lukaku has certainly been made to work hard during United's American tour, training with his new team-mates for the first time within an hour of his move being made official.

    Mourinho has praised the new boy at nearly every public appearance after a promising start, following up his first goal in a United shirt at Real Salt Lake with a stunning effort in the 2-0 derby win against Manchester City.

    "It has gone well for the team," Lukaku said of the build-up to the 2017-18 season. "Everybody is well prepared.

    "We are working really hard and delighted to be here and we need to keep going."

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  • Romelu Lukaku: I know what I want to do

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    The forward scored 25 Premier League goals last season as the Toffees finished seventh but he has reportedly told the club he wants to leave in order to play Champions League football.

    He has been linked with a return to former club Chelsea as well as a move to Manchester United,
    Speaking to Sky Sports after Belgium's 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic in a friendly the forward hinted his mind was made up.

    "My agent knows what's going to happen,

    "I know what I want to do, and whenever something happens, you guys will know."

    Lukaku also discussed the injury to his international team-mate Eden Hazard, who is now expected to miss around three months following a fractured ankle.
    "I was next to him when he slipped, it was the last action of the game and we all thought it was just a twisted ankle," Lukaku said.

    "He stood up and he was really positive. Then we heard the scan results and we were really disappointed for him, because he's a key player.

    "He's had a great season so it's disappointing for a big player like him to get injured but he's got a good mentality and he's a good professional so I hope he comes back really quick."

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    Romelu Lukaku is better than Diego Costa, according to former Manchester City striker Shaun Goater.

    The 47-year-old believes the Belgian, who tops the Premier League goalscoring charts and has been linked with a big-money move away from Everton when his contract expires in 2018, has the edge because of his potential to improve.
    Goater, who played for City for five seasons and scored more than 100 goals, believes Costa, who has 19 goals compared with Lukaku's 24, is a top-class striker but has probably already reached the top of his game.

    "I'm going to go with Lukaku," he said on Sky Sports when questioned about the two strikers. "He's not as consistent as he should be, but I'll go with Lukaku.

    "He's 23, there's a lot more to come from him in the years to come."
    Lukaku left Chelsea in 2014 after failing to hold down a regular spot in the team, but is being linked with a move away from Merseyside, and the Stamford Bridge club is being touted as one possible destination. It means that the 23-year-old could eventually replace Spanish striker Costa.

    "He's a big target man, he can hold it up, he can give you that relief as a team," added Goater. "He's a decent finisher but he can improve as well.

    "Diego Costa is about 28 so he's probably peaking at this time, but he's still a quality striker."

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