Everton snap up Lukaku with record £28m deal
Published 31/07/2014 | 02:30
Romelu Lukaku has completed a record-breaking £28m move to Everton with Jose Mourinho insisting the forward lost focus as he was never going to be first choice at Chelsea.
Everton have smashed their transfer record to sign the Belgium international following his impressive loan spell last season, finally bring his career at Chelsea to an end. Lukaku has agreed a five-year deal worth around £75,000 a week with Roberto Martinez's team and flew from Belgium to England yesterday in a private jet to complete his move.
He leaves Chelsea after three difficult years, making only 10 Premier League starts for the Blues, with Mourinho claiming Lukaku believed he was good enough to lead the line at Stamford Bridge. Lukuka's relationship with Mourinho was damaged last season after he made it clear he wanted another loan spell, with the Chelsea manager imploring him to "tell the truth" about his desire to move.
And although Mourinho insisted last night he was a "good kid", it was clear that Lukaku's confidence in his own ability was not shared by the Chelsea coaching staff.
"Romelu was always very clear with us with his mentality and his approach was not highly motivated to come to a competitive situation with Chelsea," he said. "He wanted to play for Chelsea but he clearly wanted to be first-choice striker, but for a club of our dimension it is very difficult to promise to a player.
"That reduced, immediately, his desire to come to us. After that Everton came with an important offer and as I always say, because it's the reality of our club and we want to be inside the Financial Fair Play rules, it's always in the thoughts of the board. The important thing is that he's happy and things work well for him, he's a good kid and has his way of thinking and organising his career."
Lukaku's move to Everton was finally confirmed late yesterday after paperwork issues, hours after he had tweeted a picture of himself seated on the jet, giving a thumbs-up along with the caption: "Time to write a new chapter".
He had been ordered to join Mourinho's first team on their pre-season tour of Holland but Everton made their move late on Tuesday night.
The deal for Lukaku is a club record, significantly more than the £15m David Moyes paid for Marouane Fellaini in 2008, and Martinez will be relieved to finally land his No 1 target of the summer after what chairman Bill Kenwright described as an "11-month quest".
Despite Mourinho's problems with Lukaku since his return to west London, the decision to sell him represents significant backing for the manager from the Chelsea hierarchy. Members of the board and technical staff have been opposed to the sale, believing Lukaku's hopes of becoming a success at Chelsea were realistic.
But the transfer fee will eventually come close to Chelsea's price tag of €30m after add-ons.
Martinez said: "Welcoming Romelu Lukaku back to Everton on a permanent basis is the news that all Evertonians wanted to hear. We know that Romelu is still a young man and the potential that he has is quite unique, and we are desperate to see him enjoying his football and to watch him grow as footballer in the years to come.
"The arrival of Rom is more than just a signing, it's the fruition of a lot of hard work to get the player we wanted. This is a big moment for Everton's history and the perfect way of getting the squad ready for the start of the season."
Chelsea are now poised to move a number of their fringe players out on loan, with Christian Atsu expected to join Sunderland. Atsu, a Ghana international, is highly regarded by the Chelsea staff and could spend the season at the Stadium of Light.
England U-21 international forward Patrick Bamford is also set to join Middlesbrough after Aitor Karanka, their manager, utilised his relationship with Mourinho. Karanka worked with Mourinho at Real Madrid and is on the brink of taking Bamford, who impressed on loan at Derby County last season.
Ryan Bertrand is also joining Southampton on a season-long loan.
Chelsea recorded their fourth win in five pre-season games last night, a 3-1 victory over Vitesse Arnhem. Cesc Fabregas scored his first Chelsea goal as Mourinho's new-look team underlined why they will undoubtedly be contenders for the Premier League title. Fabregas curled in an excellent free-kick while Diego Costa impressed with two assists and a menacing performance. Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic scored the other goals.
Didier Drogba sat in the stands while Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have also joined up with the squad.
Andre Schurrle, Ramires and Oscar will report back on Monday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)