Romelu Lukaku: Everton striker big part of future, says Ronald Koeman.

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Romelu Lukaku: Everton striker big part of future, says Ronald Koeman.

Romelu Lukaku is “a big part of Everton’s future” as they try to sign him up on a new contract, manager Ronald Koeman says.

The club hope the striker, 23, will sign a long-term deal making him the highest-paid player in their history.

Lukaku’s agent Mino Raiola, who has a strong relationship with Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, met club shareholder Farhad Moshiri on Monday.

“If a new deal is done that is good news,” said Koeman.

Lukaku’s contract, signed when he joined from Chelsea for a club-record £28m, is worth about £75,000 and it is believed the new deal would see him earn around £100,000 a week.

Optimism at Goodison Park is growing that the Belgium forward, who is under contract until 2019, is close to agreeing an improved deal.

Last summer, Everton boss Koeman told Lukaku, who has scored nine goals in 15 Premier League games this season, that he would not be allowed to leave despite interest from Juventus and former club Chelsea.

Previously, Koeman has suggested the Belgium striker will have to move on to fulfil his potential.

Koeman said on Thursday: “It is a big deal and that is what the club is showing, to keep their best players and do everything to keep them in the club, because that is the future.

“Of course you don’t know in football what can happen in one year – but at least there is an understanding that the boy likes to stay and he is a big part of Everton’s future.

“Even when they sign new contracts but don’t say they will stay until the end of the contract, it is football and business.

“We know we need to battle for players and we have competition of United, City and Chelsea, so it is difficult.”