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.”