EPL: Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku close to joining Everton
Everton are poised to announce the club-record signing of Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku on a permanent basis from Premier League rivals Chelsea, British media reports said on Wednesday
London: Everton are poised to announce the club-record signing of Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku on a permanent basis from Premier League rivals Chelsea, British media reports said on Wednesday.
Britain's Press Association reported that Lukaku, who spent last season on loan at Everton, will sign a five-year contract and join for a fee of $42.2 million (31.6 million euros).
Everton called a press conference for 1900 local time (1800 GMT) on Wednesday, at which Lukaku was expected to be presented to the media.
The 21-year-old made an enigmatic posting on the Instagram photo-sharing website earlier on Wednesday, with a photograph of him on an aeroplane accompanied by the message: "Time to write a new chapter....." Lukaku finished as Everton's top scorer last season after finding the net 16 times in 33 appearances, helping Roberto Martinez's side to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League.
He played for Belgium at the World Cup, but his chances of establishing himself at Chelsea were hindered by the arrival of Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid and the return of veteran striker Didier Drogba. Martinez admitted recently that a new striker was his main priority in the transfer window.
"We clearly need to strengthen in the number nine position, the striker, and probably another attacking player," he said. "We know exactly our priorities and the names we will work hard to get them, but they need to be a perfect fit. "Every player that comes in needs to add to what we already have. We are not going to bring in players for the sake of it. It will be the ones we need.
"The dressing room is something special and my only worry is bringing in a player who could disrupt that." A precocious talent, Lukaku made his professional debut for Anderlecht at the age of 16 and finished as Belgium's top scorer with 15 goals in the 2009-10 season as his side claimed their 30th title.
After netting a further 16 goals the following campaign, he joined Chelsea in 2011 for a reported fee of Â£10 million rising to Â£17 million. The burly, left-footed forward made 12 appearances without scoring in his first season at Stamford Bridge before being loaned to West Bromwich Albion, where he scored 17 goals in 35 league games in the 2012-13 season. Everton open their Premier League campaign at promoted Leicester City on August 16.