Belgium and Everton striker Romelu Lukaku has revealed that he had the chance to join Juventus over the summer, but opted to stay in England because he believes ‘it was too early for Italy.’
Reports claimed that Lukaku handed in a transfer request towards the end of last season, however, the attacker stayed put over the summer.
Lukaku spoke with Belgian Newspaper Het Nieuwsblad when he revealed that he had the chance to join Juventus this summer, but he instead preferred to stay in England as he believes it was too soon to make the switch.
“It stings a little [not being in European competition], but I’m someone who believes that everything happens for a reason,” the Everton striker said.
“Otherwise, I would have gone to Juventus instead of staying at Everton. But I opted for Everton because it was too early for Italy and I have not done badly here.”
Chelsea were also believed to be interested in the 23-year-old, with Conte even reportedly having prepared a £60 million bid for the Belgium International.
However, as the transfer window closed, Lukaku saw himself preparing for the 2016/17 season with Everton’s new manager, Ronald Koeman – the man who pushed for Lukaku to stay at the club.
“Now we have a new coach and it is completely different than with Mr. Martinez, but I think we can make progress under Ronald Koeman. It may be the last step and then look further,” Lukaku explained.
“I knew of the interest of a few clubs, it was quickly very clear that Everton would not let me go. It was important to me that I remained calm, and I did.
“I said to myself that I will do my best, and who knows what will happen in the future.”
With Lukaku refusing to confirm a long-term stay at Goodison Park, we could see the 23-year-old leave Everton next summer, with a host of high-profile clubs already keen on him.