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 By PA Sport

Lukaku turned down Everton contract because of 'voodoo message' - Moshiri

Romelu Lukaku refused to sign a new contract at Everton after a "voodoo message" told him to join Chelsea, according to the club's major shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

The Belgium international was in a meeting in March at which he was scheduled to sign a new contract -- around the time his agent Mino Raiola claimed the deal was 99.9 percent done -- when the U-turn happened.

"His agent went to Finch Farm to sign the contract," Moshiri told Everton's AGM.

"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 message that said he had to sign for Chelsea."

Iranian billionaire Moshiri, who has pumped £150 million of his own money into the club to clear debts, said the Toffees offered the striker an "unbelievable" amount of money to stay, understood to be £140,000 a week.

"The issue with Romelu was not financial. As long as I am major shareholder financial issues are irrelevant," he said.

"I wasted two summers to keep him: first summer with his agent, him and his family we managed to keep him.

"Last summer we offered him a better deal than Chelsea, whatever they offered we matched but he just didn't want to stay.

"If I tell you what we offered him you wouldn't believe it but they offered him a better deal."

Romelu Lukaku made 141 appearances for Everton, scoring 68 goals.

Lukaku, who is big friends with Manchester United playmaker Paul Pogba, eventually moved to Old Trafford in July for an initial £75m after Jose Mourinho caught his former side napping over the transfer.

"I got close to Rom, I like the boy, he's a good boy, and I used all my charm to keep him and I flatly failed," Moshiri added.

"Ultimately we lost money. To buy Rom now would be £120m. The issue was his brain had gone. He was in L.A. [with Pogba] and he wouldn't come back.

"It happens. Alex Ferguson got another year out of [Cristiano] Ronaldo but then he was off. [Luis] Suarez had to bite a few players to get off."

Moshiri was similarly unsuccessful in trying to keep boyhood blue Ross Barkley, who moved to Chelsea last week after backing out of a £35m deal on deadline day in August.

"I didn't spend as much time to keep Ross as I did Rom," added Moshiri.

"When it got to the two years I met his agent and said 'We need to extend the contract.' He said 'You need to get Ronald Koeman' and we got Koeman.

"He then said [John] Stones was his friend and he should be allowed to leave and he left.

"We got into the last year [of his contract] and again we didn't want him to go.

"Bill miraculously got an offer for £35m for a player who was injured and then he changed his mind.

"Sam [Allardyce] spoke to him and he didn't want to stay."

Plans for the club's new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock are progressing but so are costs with chairman Bill Kenwright stating the development, which the club hope to be playing in by 2022, would cost £500m.

"Half-a billion is the estimate. Half-a-billion is what we are dealing with," he said.


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