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Martinez reveals Lukaku plan

ESPN staff
April 4, 2014 « Wenger: Ramsey return like new signing | Test Wayin World Cup »
Everton face competition for Lukaku from Tottenham

Roberto Martinez says Everton have seven games to prove to Romelu Lukaku that his future should be at Goodison Park.

The manager is keen to sign the striker who has scored 13 goals for his team since joining on loan from Chelsea last summer.

But he faces competition from Tottenham and elsewhere after Lukaku's agent started talks with clubs about a permanent move.

Martinez said: "The key is to have a club who keep improving and moving forward, and that allows a player to see himself being able to develop and fulfil his potential.

No Jagielka rush

Jagielka has not played since the end of February © PA Photos
  • Phil Jagielka is out of Everton's Premier League showdown with Arsenal on Sunday - as manager Roberto Martinez feels it would be a "fatal gamble" to rush him back.
  • The club captain is recovering from a hamstring injury and has not played since February 22.
  • Jagielka is set to be a part of England's World Cup squad this summer, and any recurrence of the injury could put his place on the plane to Brazil in jeopardy.
  • Martinez said: "We need to be very, very careful with Phil. It's an injury we need to make sure doesn't recur.
  • "He's still doing his individual programme and the medical department is not ready to allow him to join the group to be in the squad.

"I truly believe that Romelu's found that experience so far. It's exactly what he needed from a personal point of view and I think the next seven games will be very important to see where the next chapter is for Romelu.

"It's not about whether we get into the Champions League or not. It's more about the focus of the club.

"We want to carry on growing. We want to be a club who look to get into the Champions League consistently. That's very important for a young player who wants to fulfil his potential.

"Romelu has been an incredible asset for us, the same way that he has been a credit to his parent club.

"He's been developing as a young man, and I think he's fulfilling his potential, which I believe is huge, and all we want now is for him to concentrate on the next seven games.

"Whatever happens in the summer will be something good, because with the season he's had, it can only be positive."

Martinez's contention is slightly complicated by the likely cost of £25 million-rated Lukaku. Everton are unlikely to be able to afford to buy him or pay his wages without the increase in income that goes with playing in Europe's elite club competition.

Lukaku has also previously said qualification for the Champions League would be a likely condition for him agreeing to sign, something which would also make it difficult for Spurs to complete the transfer.

Everton are fifth in the Premier League, one place and four points ahead of Spurs, and are currently in a stronger position to reach next season's Champions League.

However, Arsenal are in pole position to claim the fourth place and join Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in next season's competition.

Arsene Wenger's side are in the coveted spot and hold a four-point advantage over Everton, albeit having played a game more.

Martinez's side have the chance to close that gap on Sunday when they face Arsenal at Goodison Park.

Whatever happens with Everton, Lukaku's future looks almost certain to be at a club other than Chelsea.

Their manager, Jose Mourinho, has frequently criticised the quality of the strikers on his club's books and has admitted to looking for a revamp this summer.

He has not always seen eye-to-eye with Lukaku and will have to make the "surgical" moves he wants in the summer transfer market with new financial constraints putting pressure on fringe players.

Romelu Lukau's agent has held talks with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy © Getty Images
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