BELGIUM striker Romelu Lukaku last night revealed that he jumped at the chance to leave Chelsea and rejoin Everton on a permanent transfer for a club record £28m.
Lukaku, who scored 16 in 33 games on loan last term, said signing for the Toffees “felt right” because the coaches had faith in him. He only played 15 times in three seasons at Chelsea, never scoring, but insisted he bore no resentment towards his former club.
“I decided very quickly that I wanted to come back. I’m 21 and needed to play somewhere it felt right, and here I have the trust of all of the technical staff,” said Lukaku.
“I don’t have any hard feelings towards Chelsea. They gave me the opportunity to come to England. I trained under world-class managers, so I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Lukaku is the fifth high-profile sale by Chelsea this year, following Juan Mata, Kevin de Bruyne, David Luiz and Demba Ba, whose proceeds total around £140m. Full-back Ryan Bertrand yesterday joined Southampton on a season-long loan.
In that time they have signed Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah, Kurt Zouma, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Didier Drogba for a combined £120m. Lukaku’s departure means Fernando Torres is likely to stay at Stamford Bridge, unless manager Jose Mourinho bolsters his attacking options.
Fabregas scored his first Chelsea goal last night as they beat Vitesse Arnhem 3-1 in Holland. Salah and Matic netted the others in the pre-season friendly.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez, who also tied midfielder Ross Barkley to a new contract this week, called it “a very significant day in the history of the club”. Martinez added: “It’s every Evertonian’s wish. He was our No1 target. It had to be a record fee and he is well worth every penny and effort.”