The answer from Everton is simple. Never.
Just like John Stones last season, we don’t need, nor want, to sell Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea, so when offers of below the club’s valuation come in, then it is Everton’s right to reject them.
Chelsea tried to bully Everton through the media in their bid to land John Stones last summer. John Terry, Gary Cahill, and then Rio Ferdinand all made statements that it would be “in the interests of Stones’ career to join Chelsea” who then went on to take three quarters of the season to climb above Everton in the table.
Their bids, like those for Lukaku, were “below the valuation” at best. Derisory at worst.
They failed to get their way. We have a chant about it. The first issue of our fanzine carried the headline “Money Can’t Buy You Stones” on the cover which, for some reason, seemed to rub both Chelsea players and fans up the wrong way. (John Obi Mikel was shown a copy as he gazed out of the Chelsea team bus’ window after his side were humped at Goodison Park)
Now, they tell Everton that their offer of £67m – £8m below what is believed to be Everton’s valuation of the striker – is their final offer.
If only we could believe them.
There’s a month to go in the transfer window though. They’ll be back. More than likely they’ll increase their offers by £500k each time, and with each rejected offer another Chelsea player or “banterific” ex pro will churn out the same nonsense about Everton holding back a player’s career, or Everton not playing fair, or ruining football.
Each time though, they’ll be reminded of this ultimatum.
When Chelsea were hawking Romelu Lukaku around the Premier League two years ago, Everton paid the asking price. Now Everton have a valuation that needs to be met before they will even consider letting Lukaku head back to London.
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