Everton striker Romelu Lukaku has claimed he turned down an approach from Juventus during the summer transfer window, in an interview with a Belgian newspaper.
Lukaku had handed in a transfer request at the end of last season, but remains at Everton after the club had made it clear they had no plans to sell the striker who had scored 28 goals in 54 appearances for club and country in 2015/16.
The Belgian said that Everton’s lack of participation in Europe this season “stings a little”, but decided that a potential move to Juventus came too early in his career. He also claimed his prolific form at Goodison Park was a key factor in not pushing for a move – he has scored 61 times in 130 appearances since his 2013 loan spell.
Despite the threat of Lukaku leaving, new Toffees manager Ronald Koeman sees the former Chelsea striker as vital to his team’s prospects this season, and is reportedly looking at offering Lukaku a new contract.
However, Lukaku has made it clear to the club that he has ambitions of challenging for titles and competing in Europe. He said “For me football is not about money – I want to win prizes. But when I get into a situation where I can leave but my team will not let me, I’m not someone who misses training, gets fined and develops a bad reputation.
“I try to remain calm and treat my club with respect. Hopefully they also treat me with respect and I can leave through the front door.”
Juventus’ interest could have been influenced by Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola, who is also employed by recently-departed Juve midfielder Paul Pogba. Raiola was behind many of this summer’s biggest transfers, and could be busy again next summer if Lukaku decides to leave Everton.
At 23-years old, Lukaku can afford to spend another season at Everton challenging for a European place. If he wants to win titles, though, Everton will struggle to hold onto their prize striker for another summer. It seems Lukaku is well aware of that, and he is already preparing for his next move out of Goodison Park with his latest comments.