Everton forward Kevin Mirallas has revealed he played a part in persuading Romelu Lukaku to sign from Chelsea on a season’s loan.
• Lythell: Lukaku loan baffling
Lukaku agreed a move to Goodison Park shortly before Monday’s transfer deadline, despite competition from West Brom.
The 20-year-old scored 17 goals in 20 starts while on loan at Albion last season, and had looked set for a return to The Hawthorns, but Everton chairman Bill Kenwright put in the work to bring Lukaku to Goodison Park -- with a little help from Mirallas.
The two forwards reported together for international duty with Belgium on Monday, ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Hampden Park, and Mirallas made sure he sold the idea of a Merseyside move to Lukaku.
Mirallas told Everton’s official website: “I was with Romelu in his room at the team hotel on Monday night, and I only left when I was sure he was joining us. I was surprised to learn we were in for him, because there had been no inkling, but once I got word, I really went to work.
“I just tried to convince him that Everton was the right step to take and he would love it at Goodison, and I’m really pleased he took it on board. With Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o all jostling for places up front at Chelsea, and Romelu likely to be on the bench, it made sense to go out on loan again. It made even more sense to choose Everton, and I’m delighted he has.”
Lukaku said that he had to make some tough decisions quickly as he sorted out a move on Monday evening.
“Roberto Martinez called me for 30 minutes and explained to me what he expects from me,” he told the Everton website. “I decided that Everton was the best choice. They are a more prominent club than West Brom, where I had a good time.
“I was sitting in my hotel room in Brussels when the phone went to tell me I was going out on loan again. It was 7pm, and that was the first I knew of it. There had not been a mention of it before then, but after speaking to my parents, I decided to take the plunge.
“The important thing, at 20, is to be playing, and while West Brom was an option, Everton was a better one. I’ve also known Kevin Mirallas since I was 14, and that should help. We talked about it and I am looking forward to playing.”
Manager Roberto Martinez believes Lukaku has the all-round game to punish Premier League defences.
“He’s still a young man but he’s got everything,” he told the club’s website. “What he’s achieved already is impressive. Probably the biggest point is that we all feel it is time to kick on and carry on achieving.
“He had a massive move at a very young age and we all know what he’s capable of doing in the Barclays Premier League. He’s not someone that hasn’t had an impact in the league; he’s someone that, at just 20 years old, has huge potential. He’s part of a very talented generation in Belgian football.”