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Lukaku completes Everton transfer
30 Jul 2014 22:10
Everton's new record signing Romelu Lukaku insists he owes Chelsea a debt of gratitude but feels Goodison Park is the best place for him to become a better footballer.
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The 21-year-old Belgium international completed a club-record transfer deal of £28million after signing a five-year contract with the Toffees.
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Lukaku, who played just 15 times in three years at Stamford Bridge, spent last season on loan at Everton and that was a decisive factor in him choosing to make the move permanent as he felt he received the support and belief which was lacking at Chelsea.
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"I don't have hard feelings against Chelsea. They gave me the opportunity to come to England and gave me high hopes of playing football," he said.
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"I trained with world-class players and worked under world-class managers and without them I wouldn't be here.
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"But last year was a very good year, and after a short period of time I had the feeling it was the best place to grow as a young footballer.
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"The manager has been very influential. He is someone who knows football, someone who can develop me as a player and make us better as a team - and that is something I need as a young footballer.
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"I needed to be in the place where it felt right and here I have the confidence of all the technical staff, the trust of the supporters as well and I can grow and develop.
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"I have a very good relationship with the players and staff so for me this is the place where I belong."
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Martinez said the deal, which eclipses the £15million deal for Lukaku's compatriot Marouane Fellaini when he moved from Standard Liege in 2006, had been almost a year in the planning.
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But the successful completion meant the club had sent out a strong message.
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"It is not just one of those important days for the season but it is a very significant day in the history of our football club," said Martinez.
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"The feeling in the dressing room was to get him back on a permanent basis to get some continuity and grow into a very successful team.
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"That is why we are so delighted. It is not something which has happened overnight, there has been a lot of work and support from the chairman and the board has been very important in being able to see Rom back at the club.
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"It is fair to say Romelu was our number one target to bring in and the pursuit was relentless but it had to be a record transfer and it is worth every single penny and effort we put behind it.
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"At 21 he has already scored over 30 goals in the Premier League and in my eyes the target is for him to become one of the best world-class strikers.
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"To have a footballer of Rom's calibre on a permanent basis it means there had to be a lot of long-term planning and work behind the scenes but, more importantly, his potential his huge."
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