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Tuesday 17 July 2018

Rom's legal advice over voodoo jibe

Lukaku seething over claim by Everton owner Moshiri that Belgian left after receiving 'a message' from his mother

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is seeking legal advice over comments made by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri
Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is seeking legal advice over comments made by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is to seek legal advice over claims made by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri that he opted to leave the club after receiving a "voodoo message".

Moshiri told a shareholders' meeting that Lukaku, 24, received the message from "a pilgrimage to Africa".

Lukaku joined United for £75m in July after rejecting a new deal at Everton. A representative for the player said: "Romelu's decision had nothing to do with voodoo."

The spokesperson added: "He distances himself from these beliefs and this statement and will now see what judicial steps can be taken in relation to them."

The Belgian has reportedly been left upset and angry by the claims.

His representative says Lukaku rejected the opportunity to become the highest paid player in Everton's history in order to pursue his desire to play at the highest possible level.

His representative added: "Romelu is very catholic and voodoo is not part of his life or his beliefs. He simply had no faith in Everton and no confidence in Mr Moshiri's project. "That is why he did not want to sign on any condition. He wanted to make the next step in his career and wanted the security to be able to leave."

Last March Lukaku's agent, Mino Raiola, had claimed a new deal to remain at Everton was "99.9% done".

Premier League champions Chelsea had bid for Lukaku, but he then opted instead to join Jose Mourinho's United.

Extension

"We offered him a better deal than Chelsea and his agent came to Finch Farm to sign the contract," Moshiri told Everton's annual general meeting.

"Robert (Elstone, chief executive) was there, everything was in place, there were a few reporters outside," he added.

Moshiri has claimed that Romelu Lukaku refused to sign a contract extension at Everton after the striker's mother got a "voodoo" message telling him to join Chelsea.

Moshiri, the club's major shareholder, also said that he "wasted" two summers trying to persuade the Belgium international to stay at Goodison Park.

Chelsea ended up missing out on Lukaku as well, with Manchester United securing the forward in July in a deal worth pounds 75 million, although Moshiri argued that Everton effectively lost money because he would be worth significantly more now. In an extraordinary speech last night at the club's general meeting, before an audience of shareholders at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall, the Iranian businessman spoke openly about his unsuccessful attempts to persuade Lukaku and Ross Barkley to stay the club.

"With Romelu, I wasted two summers trying to keep him," Moshiri said. "The first summer, I spent almost three months, and we managed to keep him for another year. Last summer, we offered him a better deal than Chelsea, and he just didn't want to stay.

"If I tell you what we offered, you won't believe it. His agent went to Finch Farm to sign the contract. Then somehow during the meeting, Romelu called his mother and said she was on a pilgrimage to Africa and had seen some sort of voodoo that said he had to sign for Chelsea.

"What can you do? He'd gone to Los Angeles and wouldn't come back, his brain had gone."

England midfielder Barkley left Goodison Park for Chelsea in a £15million transfer last week, with Moshiri saying that Everton could not have done more to try to keep a player who would have been out of contract at the end of this season.

Moshiri added that Barkley had told the club, via his agent, that he'd consider staying if "his friend" John Stones was allowed to leave, which he did in August 2016, joining Manchester City for £47million.

He said: "When it got to two years left, I went to his agent and said that we needed to extend the contract. He said: You need to get (Ronald) Koeman (as manager).

"Then he said: You need to let John Stones go. Then for six months, Bill (Kenwright, the chairman) couldn't find the agent. Ross just didn't want to stay."

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