Everton manager Roberto Martinez has hinted reported Manchester United target Romelu Lukaku could leave the Toffees, but the player isn't thinking about an exit. Plus, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed he'll leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.
Billionaire businessman Farhad Moshiri recently purchased 49.9 per cent of Everton's shares, but when asked if that new investment would allow the Toffees to retain their elite stars, Martinez was quoted by the Guardian's Richard Jolly and said: "Not really, no. If Manchester United cannot keep Cristiano Ronaldo, that is a sign of a modern game. If you sell a player for those sorts of amounts, you can get the benefit of adding three or four players.”
Those comments suggest the Merseyside outfit may be willing to cash in on former Chelsea misfit Lukaku if it meant being able to reinforce their squad with numerous new additions.
But Lukaku has his eyes set on an Everton future, and after netting two in Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup victory against his former outfit, the Belgian suggested he's enjoying his football under Martinez, per Sky Sports' Lyall Thomas:
As a player, individually, I am doing my best. I have grown as a player, as a man, and as an individual. Technically I became stronger, faster, better and my performances are better.
It is not like I play three games great and six games bad, I have always been good this year and this is something I wanted. If you look at all the big players in the league they do it from day one to the 38th game of the season and that is what I want to do.
Lukaku's improvement at Everton is evidence of the thin line that separates club and individual success. At Stamford Bridge, he was constantly sat on the fringes and caught in perpetual loan spells away, whereas the first-team chances offered on Merseyside have allowed his superstar potential to flourish.
It's the kind of scoring sheen Manchester United could do with more of at present, and Squawka provided a breakdown of the Belgium international's prolific club record despite still being a new face to the top flight:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Romelu Lukaku has now scored 119 club goals in his career. He’s still only 22-years-old! https://t.co/lzZdnTU6ec3/12/2016, 7:46:57 PM
That record includes a haul of 61 goals in 117 outings for Everton, a ratio of just over a goal every other game, and one that's sure to only improve as the frontman garners more Premier League experience.
Lukaku signed for the Toffees in 2014 for a club record of £28 million, but the Telegraph reported in January that United would have to pay a massive £65 million if they were to convince the Merseysiders to sell.
A far more cost-effective addition may be that of Ibrahimovic, who has revealed he'll only remain at PSG beyond this season if the city of Paris were to fulfil one very tall order.
The Swede spoke to the Guardian and confessed he will leave the Parc des Princes this summer when his contract expires unless the Eiffel Tower is replaced by an effigy in his honour (h/t Daily Star's Luke Gardener):
But, for now, I will not be at PSG next season. I have one-and-a-half months left on my contract here. I will enjoy while I’m still here.
What will happen next year, I do not know, but for now, I will not be here.
I do not think they can change the Eiffel Tower by my statue, so... Even the leaders of the club cannot, I think. But if they can, I’ll stay here, I promise.
Ibrahimovic put four past Troyes on Sunday as the Parisians ran to a fourth consecutive Ligue 1 title, and perhaps his addition could help United rediscover their silverware stride:
Bleacher Report UK @br_uk
Zlatan’s Sunday: Scores 4 Helps PSG win 9-0 Wraps up 13th league title in 14 years Says this… 😂 #DareToZlatan https://t.co/9VCcAFOqrm3/14/2016, 8:15:54 AM
It's difficult to see where another big-name striker would fit with £36 million Anthony Martial showing good form. Captain Wayne Rooney will fight for his place in the side once he returns from injury, while Marcus Rashford has emerged as a potential star.
That being said, manager Louis van Gaal—or whoever may be at the club's helm next season—may well be willing to make room for Ibrahimovic, a free signing who could represent tremendous value.