Can you mention Romelu Lukaku’s ‘super agent’ without singing his name as the opening line of Heaven 17’s Temptation?
Well, you can’t now.
Anyway, Mini Raiola’s onion-bag-bulging Belgian beefcake is apparently keen to be, to borrow from the song, ‘carved by another’s hand’.
Whatever that means in this context.
Forget it. Whatever. He wants a transfer.
We’ve lived with the ‘Lukaku needs to move to a big club’ stuff forever, but the complexion of his contract situation took a distinctly weird turn this week when the 23-year-old phenomenon appeared to use some charity/promotional event to open up to a journalist about his thwarted Champions League ambitions.
Many of his comments you could spin how you like, depending on who pays your wages. He talked about how Everton need to be achieving glory now and winning trophies, and not always harking back to the sixties and the eighties. Now, you could interpret that as either ‘And I’m determined to make sure that we start creating that new history, right now!’, or you could take it as a criticism of a club content to do no more than bathe in the reflected light of former glories.
However, the bit that appears pretty unequivocal, and what will be boiling the piss of Ronald Koeman and the club’s owners, is when he talked about the failure to sign certain unnamed players in the summer.
He will have won few friends with that.
He might as well have said, ‘And what has that fucking Walshy been up to?’
Anyway, you never know what’s going on with contract negotiations. Not really. However, you can have a good guess, and look at who stands to gain the most from each possible scenario. And so, with our tabloid trousers on, completely and utterly making this all up and passing it off as fact, the crux of all this seems to be the release clause in the new £140k per week contract that Lukaku was apparently 99.99% certain to sign only weeks ago.
If he accepts (accepts!) that new deal, even if he leaves in the summer he will probably make about an extra million quid between now and then for absolutely no extra work or responsibility. He won’t even have to be a designated first-aider or fire warden. So that’s a no-brainer from his point of view. However, he would be then tied down (tied down!) to a five-year deal.
Diego Costa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic could very well be leaving Chelsea and Manchester United when the season ends, in which case both of those monied institutions would find themselves in the market for a proven Premier League goal machine. A bidding war then, in this, the age where Paul Pogba’s worth whatever the fuck United spewed on him, could, and should, see astronomical bids for Lukaku.
The more they pay in terms of a transfer fee though, the less there is in the pot for the player’s overall package – and in turn the agent’s cut. So surely it’s in Raiola’s interest to effectively negotiate the transfer fee – in the shape of a release clause – on behalf of the interested parties with whom he famously he has strong relations? If he manages to get that clause set at a price that both United, Chelsea – and anyone else, for that matter – have already agreed they are willing to meet, then the only area in which they can differentiate their bids and compete for Lukaku will be in terms of remuneration for him. And in turn his representative.
So it’s a win-win, unless you are Everton of course, who would be simply shelling out the extra wages for the remainder of the season before watching their prize asset leave for below his genuine market value.
No wonder it’s come to an impasse then.
As Koeman and Farhad Moshiri pointed out though, with two years remaining on Lukaku’s contract, Everton are under no pressure to do anything at this point. He can forget about his pay rise – thanks very much – and continue scoring goals for another season. We can all then meet again in a year to resume the conversation.
This mother is set to run and run. Christ knows how the crowd are going to react to Lukaku on Saturday though – or if not then, the next time he has a poor game. Ultimately he’s allowed to see his contract out, and at the moment that’s what he’s going to be doing, even though we all know that’s not how this will ultimately play out. Because when it comes to players wanting away, well, this is not our first rodeo.
As long as Lukaku keeps putting in a shift in return for his contracted salary then, quite frankly, let Raiola, Moshiri and and the rest of them get on with the money-grubbing.
We’ve always said it will be a massive loss when Lukaku moves on, as there just aren’t many players around anywhere in the world with his combination of attributes. However, life always goes on, and in England alone there are six clubs who are doing better than us without him this season.
Replacing Lukaku, no matter how much money we eventually get for him, will certainly see Walshy earn his corn. You get the impression though that Koeman maybe doesn’t see Ross Barkley’s boots as so difficult to fill. The Dutchman has acknowledged the England midfielder’s improved recent performances, but in his latest press conference he was typically blunt when stating that if he doesn’t sign the latest deal on the table then he will be sold.
Exactly how you would value Barkley at the moment is tough to calculate. He’s young, he’s an occasional international and has always been highly rated as he’s risen through the various levels of the game. However, there are persistent question marks over certain aspects of his game and his ability to impose himself consistently at the highest level.
Essentially, would he get a starting place in any of the teams that could afford him?
You wonder whether Everton think that perhaps he wouldn’t, and are banking on that as leverage in the contract negotiations.
Again, broadsheet-style (why should the tabloids get all the stick?), that is all complete conjecture passed off as some sort of working knowledge of how these things actually work. Because we don’t.
If we did, we wouldn’t have to shoot back to work now before writing anything about Hull and making some joke about Oumar Niasse’s loan agreement stipulating that he must face his parent club.