Everton striker Romelu Lukaku will stay at the club beyond the end of the summer transfer window, according to manager Ronald Koeman. The Belgium international has been heavily linked with a return to Chelsea but is set to remain at Goodison Park for the duration of the 2016-17 campaign.
The Mirror had understood that the Blues were interested in re-signing the 23-year-old, with the Toffees valuing the forward at £75m. An offer of £57m from the west London outfit failed along with several cash-plus-players proposals, as the Stamford Bridge outfit desperately tried to complete a deal.
However, with little over a week of the transfer window remaining Chelsea's hopes of acquiring Lukaku have been dealt a seismic blow after the player told Koeman he would be staying at Everton. The Dutchman is thrilled with the decision and indicated he would recall Lukaku- who has been nursing a heel injury for the visit of Stoke City next weekend.
"It is true," he said after the 2-1 win over West Brom, according to ESPN. "He spoke to me [to say] that he made the decision by himself to stay at least one more season at Everton and that is great news for everybody. I was not doubting the player or his qualities. He was 10 days out with injury and he only did yesterday his second session, but I am not so stupid to put him on the bench next week. Of that there is no question."
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been coy over his transfer plans for the remainder of the summer window, though he is keen on bringing in defensive cover. The Italian has signed Michy Batshuayi and N'Golo Kante and it is yet to be seen whether further additions will be made.
Lukaku left Chelsea on a permanent basis in 2014 after being sent on successive loan spells to West Bromwich Albion and then Everton – where he impressed sufficiently to win a long-term move. He appeared destined to leave the club after scoring 25 goals in all competitions last term and recruited Mino Raiola as his agent, but he chosen to stay to prolong his career on Merseyside.