Martinez: Big fee won’t affect Lukaku

Everton may have smashed their transfer record to sign striker Romelu Lukaku but manager Roberto Martinez insists the fee is irrelevant if the player fulfils his potential.

The Belgium international landed on Merseyside for a flying visit from his homeland on Wednesday to finalise a five-year contract after a £28million deal - believed to be a £25m fee with subsequent add-ons – was agreed with Chelsea.

Everton’s previous record was the £15m paid to Standard Liege in 2006 for midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who moved on to Manchester United last summer for £28million.

Martinez stressed, however, the player will not carry that burden into the dressing room.

“Rom is vitally important but his transfer fee will not count for anything in terms of him developing and having an important role in the side,” said the Spaniard.

“I am looking at that number nine position – and I am probably biased – but he is potentially the best choice in world football.”

“In years to come you will see him develop into someone special but nothing changes for Rom.”

Lukaku said he is comfortable with the transfer fee and intends to provide the goals, having scored 16 in 33 appearances on loan at Goodison Park last season, to help fire the club into the Champions League.

Asked how long it could be until the Toffees were playing alongside Europe’s elite the Belgian said: “If we continue to develop like we did last season very soon.”

“I wanted to stay in the Premier League because it is the most attractive league in the world and also the best.”

“I think the club wants to make a statement and I want to help the club to make a statement in this league.”

Martinez is still keen to add more signings, having already secured another loan player Gareth Barry on a permanent deal and also brought in £4m midfielder Muhamed Besic.

However, he may now have to rely on loan signings – the Toffees have been linked with a temporary deal for Chelsea’s Christian Atsu – having used most of his transfer budget to secure Lukaku.

“I said before we signed Rom we need three attacking players and that has not changed,” said the Everton boss.

“I always said money shouldn’t be the difference between being able to challenge or not.”

“It excites me when I see the side we have. Maybe some have the excuse of having to have a certain amount of money to challenge for titles but I don’t look at it that way.”

More in this Section

Pogba desperate to play for Man United again despite links with move – SolskjaerPogba desperate to play for Man United again despite links with move – Solskjaer

Lampard refuses to accept Chelsea can end Man United’s Champions League hopesLampard refuses to accept Chelsea can end Man United’s Champions League hopes

BBC severs ties with pundit after ‘black lads’ commentsBBC severs ties with pundit after ‘black lads’ comments

Football rumours: Real Madrid keen on Raheem SterlingFootball rumours: Real Madrid keen on Raheem Sterling


Lifestyle

Setting sail to travel the world as part of your job has a romance all of its own but for marketing manager Máire Cronin and engineer Mark Crowe it led to love.Wedding of the Week: Cruise ship co-workers Máire and Mark sail off into sunset

One of the genres that has seen exponential growth in the podcast world is the sleepcast. Open Spotify on your phone in the evening and a number of offerings are available, writes Eoghan O'SullivanThe Podcast Corner: podcasts that will put you to sleep

Cutting-edge animation was paired with the look of an old-fashioned family film for Call Of The Wild, writes Esther McCarthyCall of the Wild: CGI dogs have their day in new Disney adventure

A new exhibition recalls the late entertainer Thom McGinty, writes Richard Fitzpatrick.Remembering The Diceman: street performer and social activist

More From The Irish Examiner