Romelu Lukaku Rejected Everton Deal After 'Voodoo Message,' Says Farhad Moshiri

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2018

Manchester United's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku reacts during the English FA Cup third round football match between Manchester United and Derby County at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 5, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Lindsey PARNABY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)
LINDSEY PARNABY/Getty Images

Everton's major shareholder Farhad Moshiri has revealed Romelu Lukaku was set to sign a new contract with the club late last season before a "voodoo message" prompted him into changing his mind. 

Speaking at the Toffees' Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, Moshiri detailed how close the Belgian came to penning fresh terms at Everton, before the now-Manchester United forward backed out.

"His agent went to Finch Farm to sign the contract," he said, per PA Sport (h/t ESPN FC). "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."

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05:  Farhad Moshiri, Everton owner is seen prior to the Premier League match between Everton and Watford at Goodison Park on November 5, 2017 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

As noted in the piece, Lukaku's agent, Mino Raiola, had previously reported Lukaku's new contract with Everton was "99.9 per cent" finalised, with the Belgian forward said to have been offered a weekly wage of £140,000.

The Red Devils eventually beat the Blues to the signing of Lukaku, who moved to Old Trafford in a deal worth an initial £75 million. Moshiri said he would be worth a lot more than that now.

"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 £120 million. The issue was his brain had gone. He was in Los Angeles [with Paul Pogba], and he wouldn't come back."

Per BBC Merseyside Sport, Moshiri made it clear he was desperate to keep the striker at Goodison Park:

After making his move to United, Lukaku enjoyed a blistering beginning to the campaign, although the goals have dried up a little recently. Overall, he's netted an impressive 16 goals in 31 appearances for his new club.

Last term Lukaku excelled for Everton, and his goals looked as though they may power the Toffees to a top-six finish under Ronald Koeman. Eventually they finished in seventh position in the table.

Everton's Dutch manager Ronald Koeman (L) stands with Everton's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (R) ahead of the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Everton at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on October 22, 2016. / AFP / OLI S
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Everton's director of football, Steve Walsh, also spoke at the forum and suggested the value of Lukaku's goals to the team had been overstated, per Paul Joyce of The Times:

Nevertheless, the Toffees have missed his presence at the point of the attack this season, as they've failed to get close to the standards set last year.

With no natural replacement signed for Lukaku in the summer, the team were facing a relegation battle before Koeman was sacked. Everton turned to Sam Allardyce to pull them out of trouble, and the experienced coach has done so, with the Toffees sitting safely in ninth in the table.

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