Roberto Martinez: Everton 'broke established rules' to sign Lukaku – but now he's worth three times as much
The 23-year-old penned a permanent deal with the Toffees in 2014 following a profitable season-long loan spell from Chelsea, netting 16 goals in 33 matches.
The Belgium international has gone from strength to strength since, while setting numerous records along the way. These have included becoming the first Everton player to net in eight consecutive games since 1954, surpassing Duncan Ferguson’s tally of 60 Premier League goals for the Toffees, and becoming the first Everton striker since Gary Lineker in 1986 to exceed 20 league goals in a single campaign.
Inevitably, Lukaku’s form has fuelled speculation of a big-money move away, with the goal-getter recently turning down a new contract worth £140,000 per week.
Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are just some of the clubs being linked with a deal for the marksman, and Martinez says that if Everton are to lose Lukaku’s services, they have to make sure they do so on their own terms.
Speaking exclusively in the May 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, the current Belgium manager says: “It’s difficult to say [if Everton can keep hold of Lukaku]. What’s important is that as a club, if you lose a player, you lose him on your own terms. Rom has doubled or trebled the initial fee that Everton paid for him.”
Lukaku netted 61 goals in 127 games under Martinez after initially arriving on loan at the beginning of the Spaniard's three-season stint at Goodison Park. The coach believes Everton got him on the cheap, saying he was worth more than £28m.
“In my eyes, potentially, he was worth more money,” he says. “We knew he’d become the player he is now. Victor Moses became a really special player with Wigan, Ashley Williams became captain at Swansea, James McCarthy and Gareth Barry were really important for me at Everton. But Romelu was different – you were breaking all of the established rules to bring him to the club.”
Read the full interview with Roberto Martinez in the May 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, in which we profile Paul Pogba and his attempt to conquer the toughest job in football, and reveal our latest rundown of the Top 50 Football League Players. Also this month, we discover how rows, rage and relegation helped to make Antonio Conte a winner, travel to Belgium with protesting Charlton Athletic fans, go One-on-One with Jermain Defoe, meet the UK’s first female manager of a senior men’s football team, and investigate how excess, addiction and divorce is leading the game’s young, rich and famous to financial ruin. Order it now, then subscribe!