LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 10 – Romelu Lukaku officially completed his move from Everton to Manchester United on Monday for a reported fee of Sh10bn (£75m), a record deal between British clubs.
The 24-year-old Belgian international striker — Everton’s record Premier League goalscorer — signed a five-year deal after passing his medical and agreeing personal terms which will see him earn over Sh26.8m (£200,000 a week).
“Romelu is a natural fit for Manchester United. He is a big personality and a big player. It is only natural that he wants to develop his career at the biggest club,” said United manager Jose Mourinho on the club website.
Mourinho, who landed the League Cup and Europa League last term after spending big in 2016, including a world-record £89m on Lukaku’s close friend Paul Pogba, added he was looking forward to collaborating with the Belgian again.
The Portuguese manager had sold him for £28m to Everton in 2014 during his second spell in charge of Chelsea.
“He will be a great addition to the group and I know they will make him very welcome,” said Mourinho, who will take extra pleasure in having denied Chelsea their top transfer target of the close season.
“I am really looking forward to working with him again.”
Lukaku, who turned down the most lucrative contract offer in Everton’s history at the end of last term, said he was sorry to leave behind good friends at his former club but his head had been turned once United came calling.
– ‘Opportunity of a lifetime’ –
Chelsea are reported to have made a similar offer but baulked at paying the size of the agent’s fee Mino Raiola demanded.
“I would like to start by thanking Everton and the fans for the last four wonderful seasons, I have made some special friends and we have shared some amazing moments,” Lukaku told the club website.
“However, when Manchester United and Jose Mourinho come knocking at the door it is an opportunity of a lifetime and one that I could not turn down.”
Lukaku, who it is reported has angered Chelsea manager Antonio Conte who feels he has betrayed him after they spoke on several occasions after the end of last season about moving, said what attracted him to United is the spirit they showed in the 2-0 win over Ajax in the Europa League final.
“You could see the fight, determination and the spirit in this team during the Europa League final and I want to become a part of that,” he said.
“I cannot wait to run out at Old Trafford in front of 75,000 fans, but before that pre-season is where the hard work starts and I am looking forward to that first training session.”
Lukaku may have been Everton’s record goalscorer but their manager Ronald Koeman appeared to suggest — at Monday’s press conference to unveil United and England record goalscorer Wayne Rooney on his return to his boyhood club — he would sacrifice his goals tally for players with more dedication to hard work.
“We had a great striker like Romelu scoring 25 goals last season, but we needed more players with more productivity,” said Koeman.
“It’s what we need to improve. I’d rather have several players scoring 10 goals.”