No pressure on £29m Romelu Lukaku as he returns to Everton, says manager Roberto Martinez
The Belgium striker spent last season on loan at Goodison Park
Roberto Martinez says that Romelu Lukaku is not facing the usual pressures at Everton familiar to a record transfer signing despite his £29 million fee, because his loan season there has already established the Belgian striker at the club.
Lukaku joined Everton permanently this month, as the most expensive signing in the club’s history by some distance. He scored 15 league goals for the club last season and along with Gareth Barry, signed on a free transfer from Manchester City, his arrival allows Martinez to maintain the squad that finished fifth in the Premier League in May.
The Everton manager said: “At the end of the season it wasn’t clear we were going to get him. For me, at 21 Lukaku is one of the best players in world football. That is not my bias, the stats show it with the amount of goals he has scored at a young age.
“Everything he has as a striker is exactly what we wanted long term. So that is a real success. Sometimes you spend a big amount on a player and that puts massive, massive pressure on him because he has to settle in and fulfil expectations. This is almost the opposite. It allows Rom to be more confident and happier because we showed incredible faith.
The Bosnian midfielder Muhamed Besic is one of Everton’s few summer signings, here playing in a friendly against Celta Vigo (PA)
“Possibly every Evertonian wished to have him at Goodison on a permanent basis. You will never get another season where you have to pay a record fee for a player who has no pressure on him at all because it is what everyone wanted. Everyone knows what to expect. There are no false expectations. He is a very natural signing.”
Martinez has also signed the Bosnian midfielder Muhamed Besic from Ferencvaros for £4m and the winger Christian Atsu on loan from Chelsea. He denied that Everton had simply stood still rather than improved their squad as other teams around them have done.
“No, it is the opposite. In terms of spending a lot of money we sold £40m of value in Marouane Fellaini, Victor Anichebe and Nikica Jelavic and we spent £13m on James McCarthy. Now we bought Lukaku so in terms of money we have balanced very well.
“Yes, we have the same players but they are a year older, with more experience and have incredible talent. We bought Mo Besic and another loan signing from Chelsea. We have got another two young players who I feel are at the level to help the first team. So overall we have a bigger group and we have the continuity that we wanted.”
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