• Football

Martinez vows to wait for Lukaku

ESPN staff
May 7, 2014
Roberto Martinez and Romelu Lukaku have enjoyed a close relationship this season © Getty Images

Everton manager Roberto Martinez says he is prepared to wait until after the World Cup to sort out Romelu Lukaku's future.

Lukaku, who celebrates his 21st birthday next Tuesday, has scored 14 goals in 30 Premier League appearances since moving to Goodison Park on a season's loan from Chelsea in September.

Those goals have helped Everton to fifth place and ensured qualification for next season's Europa League.

Martinez has made clear that he would like to keep the Belgium international, although reports have suggested that Chelsea could demand a £25 million transfer fee.

Everton would struggle to meet such a price tag, although their manager thinks a deal can be done.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "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.

"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. He has done that so we couldn't be happier.

"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. It will be after the World Cup."

Lukaku, whose two goals in a 2-1 win over Croatia last October secured Belgium's place at this summer's World Cup, is expected to be a key figure in Marc Wilmots' team in Brazil. Martinez is aware that the striker's transfer value could rise if he has a good tournament, but is unconcerned.

He added: "We are too close to Romelu to hope he has a poor tournament. We hope he has a really, really good World Cup -- and then decides to come to us."

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