Everton boss Roberto Martinez has said that he would have paid £100m to sign Romelu Lukaku, who recently moved from Chelsea in a £28m deal after a successful season on loan at Goodison Park.
The Toffees and Lukaku are set to face Chelsea this Saturday as Martinez looks to mastermind his side’s first win of the season after two 2-2 draws.
After Lukaku’s pricey move to Goodison, some questioned the wisdom of spending such a sum on the Belgian, especially given the fact that Chelsea’s new signing Diego Costa – a proven performer at European level – cost only £4m more.
However, Martinez was quick to highlight the differences between both the players and their respective circumstances.
Speaking in the Daily Mail, he said: “They are different ages and the situation at Atletico Madrid [Costa’s previous club] is very different in how they work.”
“Sometimes as a club you have a say and sometimes you have investment groups who have a say. That could be one answer.”
Money no object
Martinez then went on to say that it wasn’t the price of Lukaku that mattered, rather it was what value in terms of his character and ability he could offer.
“Secondly, it’s not about the value. I would have paid £100million for Lukaku. If I had the money, why not? The figure is insignificant,” he said.
“It is about the character and type of player you want in the group. Sometimes a player at £3m can be an expensive buy and sometimes a player at £28m can be a very cheap buy.”
Indeed, Martinez was alluding to the fact that a player who costs £3m and does very little is more costly because they don’t give the club a return on their investment.
For example, Cardiff City’s £7.5m purchase of Andreas Cornelius at the beginning of last season proved to be an extremely costly mistake when the striker failed to score a single goal and made just eight appearances before being sold back to former club FC Copenhagen.
Given that Lukaku scored 15 goals in 31 league appearances last season for the Toffees, Martinez will be confident that he will not be an expensive mistake.
The Spaniard will also be hoping that Lukaku and fellow new signing Samuel Eto’o – also formerly of Chelsea – can mastermind a victory against Jose Mourinho’s side at the weekend.