Romelu Lukaku has responded to Jose Mourinho’s assertion that he lacked the stomach for a fight at Chelsea by claiming he chose a permanent move to Everton as it is the best place for him to efurther his career.
Lukaku completed his transfer to Everton last week having spent the duration of last season on loan at Goodison Park, with his £28 million arrival signalling a club record acquisition for the Merseyside club.
The 21-year-old was able to scored 15 goals in 31 Premier League appearances for Everton, adding to the 17 times he found the net for West Brom in the previous campaign, and this deal represents something of a coup for Roberto Martinez.
Clubs of significantly more prominent standing than Everton had been linked with Lukaku, Real Madrid and Juventus among them, but the Toffees were able to get the deal over the line. This was, of course, after Chelsea decided that selling the player was the best course of action.
As Mourinho explained last week, Lukaku made it clear that he was not prepared to battle for a place in the Chelsea team, but would only be willing to return were he made the No.1 striker. This, of course, could not be guaranteed.
Mourinho claimed that Lukaku did not have the motivation to contest Diego Costa, Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres for a starting spot. However, the young Belgian says he pursued a transfer to Everton as he was made to feel more valued than Martinez than he was by Mourinho.
"I want to develop and become one of the best and the manager wants to make our team one of the best teams in England,” Lukaku told reporters.
"So to me it was a great challenge to play under him. I need to play at a high level and play in a good team. I'm not saying Chelsea are not a good team but I needed to be in a place where it felt right.
"I have the trust of the supporters. I can grow. I can develop. It almost feels that I belong here. That's why I came back.
"I have a very good relationship with the players and the staff. Everybody who is involved at this football club. So for me this is the place where I belong.”
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Unlike last season when Lukaku was unable to play against Chelsea due to the terms of his loan agreement, the Belgium international will be primed to face the west London club for his new blue clad employers in the new campaign.
This opportunity will arrive quickly in 2014/15, with Everton hosting Chelsea at Goodison Park only three games into the season, and Lukaku will be keen to show exactly why Mourinho ought to have kept him at Stamford Bridge.