Everton’s major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, has reportedly revealed that Manchester United striker, Romelu Lukaku, left the Toffees because of a ‘voodoo message’.
Lukaku was heavily mooted for a move away from the Merseyside club this summer, with Chelsea said to be front-runners for the Belgian’s signature at the time.
However, the 24-year-old ultimately decided to switch to Manchester United in a deal worth up to £90m.
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As per the report by BBC Sport, Moshiri had told the fellow shareholders at the club’s AGM that Lukaku looked “set to sign the new deal” until he made a phone call to his mother.
Moshiri said: “We offered him a better deal than Chelsea and his agent came to Finch Farm to sign the contract. Robert [Elstone, chief executive] was there, everything was in place, there were a few reporters outside, then in the meeting Rom called his mother.
“He said he was on a pilgrimage in Africa or somewhere and he had a voodoo and got the message that he needs to go to Chelsea.”
The 62-year-old Iran-born businessman himself had invested £150m into Everton to clear the debts, and claimed that the Premier League side had offered the Belgian an “unbelievable” amount of money to stay put, but he described the issue as “not financial”.
“The issue with Romelu was not financial. As long as I am major shareholder, financial issues are irrelevant,” Moshiri added. “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.”
Man Utd striker @RomeluLukaku9 to seek legal advice over @Everton owners claims. Decision to leave was to better himself. Had no faith in Moshiri project. "Romelu is very catholic and voodoo is not part of his life or his beliefs. He distances himself from these statements."
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) January 10, 2018
The Iranian shareholder further said that his trip to Los Angeles with United’s Paul Pogba proved to be the final nail in the coffin, and it became “impossible to convince him to stay at Everton” after that.
“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. The issue was his brain had gone. He was in LA and he wouldn’t come back.”
Moshiri’s recent failure to keep Ross Barkley, who completed his move to Chelsea last week, is somewhat similar to Lukaku’s, but he didn’t spend the same amount of time in Barkley’s case as compared to the striker.
“I didn’t spent as much time to keep Ross as I did Rom,” claimed Farhad.
Written by Sidharth Jindal
Sports fanatic with a passion for writing (predominantly football) and “Wants to live life to its fullest.” Writes about the Premier League on his personal blog.