According to reports, Romelu Lukaku has surprisingly turned down the most lucrative contract offer in Everton club history and will look to move on in the summer in search of Champions League football. At just 23 years old, he's currently the top scorer in the English Premier League, he just passed Duncan Ferguson as Everton's all-time Premier League goalscorer, and he hasn't even hit his prime yet. He'll be a target for some of Europe's top clubs, but where could he end up this summer?
Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is likely on his way out this summer, and Dortmund will need to replace his goals. They've already signed Swedish wunderkind Alexander Isak in that position, but at just 17 years old, it's unlikely he's quite ready to make that leap in responsibility and provide the goals Dortmund need to challenge in Bundesliga and Champions League.
In playing terms, Lukaku would likely be a perfect fit for Dortmund's style with his athleticism, work rate, and overall ability, but it's highly unlikely Dortmund can afford Lukaku's transfer fee, and his wages would break their structure. It's possible but there's a very slim chance this goes through.
There's the small matter of Edinson Cavani's presence in PSG's team, but should anyone manage to tempt the Uruguayan away from Paris, Lukaku could emerge as a legitimate possibility for Unai Emery's team. They can afford him, they're playing in Champions League, and Lukaku already speaks French, so everything lines up on that account, but it doesn't seem likely, especially since Cavani seems happy to stay put; at least for the foreseeable future.
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Romelu Lukaku signing for Arsenal seems to make perfect sense. He's a proven goalscorer in the Premier League, he's young, he's got an incredibly high ceiling, and he would provide an immediate leap in quality compared to the (natural) strikers Arsenal have in their ranks. On paper, he seems like the ideal fit for the Gunners.
However, with Arsene Wenger's future at the club in doubt, their reluctance to splash out large sums of money on individual players, and the fight they already have on their hands to keep (and pay) Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, it just doesn't seem likely. Then there's the small detail that Arsenal might not qualify for Champions League next year, making the chances of this one look pretty slim.
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Real Madrid have Karim Benzema and Alvaro Morata in their ranks already, but there's still a chance Lukaku could emerge as a Madrid target. Benzema's name has been at the top of the exit rumor list for a few years running now, while Morata has been less than pleased with his minutes since moving from Juventus last year. Morata's recent emergence and Benzema's subsequent benching could mean things get shuffled up even more in the near future, but it also could mean Zinedine Zidane has two disgruntled strikers on his hands at season's end. There's a chance Lukaku could be the man to replace them both.
Manchester United looked to be a lock to sign Antoine Griezmann just a couple months ago, but he recently dropped a big hint he might not be set on joining the Red Devils, or even leaving Atletico Madrid period. If that's the case, United will need a marquee striker, and Lukaku fits the bill perfectly.
The big hang-up here is Jose Mourinho. He sold Lukaku at Chelsea the first time they were together as player and coach, and Lukaku might not be so keen on re-igniting that relationship. If he's ready to rekindle the spark with The Special One, though, we could be seeing more incredible videos of Paul Pogba and Lukaku going 1v1 on the basketball court.
You can never go home again.
OR, you could go back home, make a ton of money, play for the best team in the league, challenge for the Premier League title and Champions League glory.
That's the choice Romelu Lukaku has in front of him, and it seems like it could be the most viable one. Diego Costa looks like he might on his way to China after this season, Chelsea has the money to afford Lukaku, he fits right into Antonio Conte's system, and he'd be returning to the Blues to finish what he started the first time around.
Where's the downside here?
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There’s always the chance Lukaku stays put. He’s made incredible career for himself with Everton, and his agent Mino Raiola even said in the press his new deal was "99.9 percent done." If Everton toss a couple more ducats on top of the offer, Lukaku could just be tempted into sticking around.