Everton manager Roberto Martinez is not concerned that Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku’s market value could increase with an impressive showing for Belgium at next month’s World Cup finals in Brazil - and believes the youngster will only decide his next move once this summer’s showpiece international tournament reaches its conclusion.
The Liverpool Echo claim Chelsea will aim to recoup at least £20m for the 20-year-old, who has scored 14 Premier League goals in 30 appearances for the Toffees this season, after splashing out £18m for the Belgium international in 2011.
Lukaku, during his loan spells with West Brom and Everton, has cemented his status as one of the best young strikers on the continent - and is expected to lead the line for Belgium in Brazil next month, with Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke out injured.
But the striker’s future with Chelsea is currently unclear, and there have even been reports that his relationship with Jose Mourinho has broken down after both spoke to the media about the reasons why Lukaku was loaned to Everton for the season.
With Mourinho on the verge of completing a big-money deal for a new striker - believed to be Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa - Lukaku could decide to join Everton on a permanent basis if it becomes clear that his first-team opportunities will be limited.
Martinez, though, is not concerned about the starlet’s potential high price tag, telling reporters: “I don’t think that’s my worry.
“The worry would be that if the deal was a cheap one, it would be because he has had a torrid time and hasn’t fulfilled his potential.”
And the Spaniard, who has enjoyed an excellent debut campaign in charge at Goodison Park, insists he is prepared to wait as long as it takes for Lukaku and Chelsea to reach a decision.
“The reason Romelu came to Everton was for him to take a big role, take a lot of responsibility, to start playing 90 minutes and be a real brain in that forward line, and he has done that so we couldn’t be happier,” he added.
“The parent club, Chelsea, are delighted with his progress and the player has developed an incredible relationship with our fans.
“His memories will never evaporate, but we will see what’s next.
“We’ll see what’s the best thing for everyone. But everything will be in stages: how Chelsea are doing in their own squad and how that frees some players. It’s going to take a bit of time and I don’t think Romelu’s situation is going to be resolved before the World Cup, in truth.
“I think it will be after the World Cup.”