Everton’s co-owner Farhad Moshiri has revealed the precise reason (at least in his estimation) that Romelu Lukaku refused to sign a new contract with the club last season.
It was widely reported, not least by Lukaku’s agent Mino Raiola, that the terms of the improved five-year deal were “99.9 percent” agreed, only for the Belgian striker to join Manchester United in a £75million transfer four months later.
Speaking at the Toffees’ annual general meeting on Tuesday, Moshiri revealed that everything looked to be falling into place with the Lukaku negotiations, only for a phone call between the player and his mother to scupper the whole thing (via PA Sport).
His agent went to Finch Farm to sign the contract. Then somehow during the meeting, Romelu called his mother and said she was on a pilgrimage to Africa and had seen some sort of voodoo message that said he had to sign for Chelsea.
Everton and Chelsea were desperately trying to one-up each other at the time, with Moshiri admitting that the numbers on the table were flatly ridiculous by the latter stages.
The issue with Romelu was not financial. As long as I am major shareholder (of Everton), financial issues are irrelevant.
I wasted two summers to keep him. First summer with his agent, him and his family we managed to keep him. Last summer we offered him a better deal than Chelsea – whatever they offered we matched but he just didn’t want to stay.
If I tell you what we offered him you wouldn’t believe it, but they offered him a better deal.
Lukaku then toddled off on holiday to Los Angeles, where he stayed in a mansion in the hills with United midfielder Paul Pogba. The rest, as they say, is history.
I got close to Rom, I like the boy, he’s a good boy, and I used all my charm to keep him and I flatly failed.
The issue was his brain had gone. He was in LA and he wouldn’t come back.
Damn that voodoo hoodoo.