Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Everton was best choice - Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku also had the option of joining West Brom

New loan signing Romelu Lukaku revealed a long conversation with manager Roberto Martinez and international team-mate Kevin Mirallas made it an easy decision to join Everton on transfer deadline day.

The Belgium striker was taken by surprise when Chelsea told him he could join another club for a second season running.

West Brom, who he had a successful stint with last season, soon joined the running for his signature, but a chat with Martinez and Mirallas - in camp with Lukaku at the time - made up the 20-year-old's mind.

"It was a crazy evening. I was sitting in my hotel room in Brussels when the phone went to tell me I was going out on loan again. It was 7pm, and that was the first I knew of it," said Lukaku, who spoke to the Belgian media as part of the build-up to Friday's match in Glasgow.

"There had not been a mention of it before then, but after speaking to my parents, I decided to take the plunge.

"Different clubs called me and I had to take the right decision. Roberto Martinez called me for 30 minutes and explained me what he expects from me.

"I decided that Everton was the best choice. They are a more prominent club than West Brom, where I had a good time. The important thing, at 20, is to be playing, and while West Brom was an option, Everton was a better one.

"I've also known Kevin Mirallas since I was 14, and that should help. We talked about [the loan move] and I am looking forward to playing."

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had indicated when taking the job for a second time that Lukaku was in his plans.

The striker played in Friday's European Super Cup loss to Bayern Munich - missing the crucial penalty - but has been deemed surplus to requirements for now.

"The conversation I had with Jose Mourinho remains confidential. I could stay at Chelsea but it's important at my age to play a lot," he added.

"My goal is to hold the World Cup and be a good striker for Chelsea in the future. This is a fresh start and a new challenge for me."

For as pleased as Lukaku was to head to Everton, Mirallas was just as happy to welcome him.

"I was with Romelu in his room at the team hotel on Monday night and I only left when I was sure he was joining us,' the forward told reporters.

"I was surprised to learn we were in for him, because there had been no inkling, but once I got word, I really went to work.

'I just tried to convince him that Everton was the right step to take and he would love it at Goodison, and I'm really pleased he took it on board."

Mirallas did bid farewell to a fellow countryman, though, as Marouane Fellaini moved to Manchester United for £27.5million, with Everton insisting they will receive the full amount from the Red Devils, despite reports suggesting the fee was lower due to the midfielder sacrificing £4million of loyalty bonuses.

Unlike Lukaku's unexpected arrival, Mirallas said the only real surprise about Fellaini's move was it was so last minute.

"There have been stories about Marouane leaving since June, so it is perhaps surprising it only happened on the last day," he added.

"We will miss him, but you have to say he has certainly earned his dream transfer."

Martinez is looking forward to working with Lukaku, whom he hopes will give his forward line a much-needed injection of goals.

"He's still a young man but he's got everything," the Spaniard told evertontv.

"It's going to be really exciting to see Romelu developing and growing and if he can do that in an Everton shirt, he's going to bring a lot of smiles to all our fans. It's an exciting period for everyone."

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