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Lukaku eyes top four

"This is where I belong," declares Everton's new record buy.

Laurence Griffiths

In his first interview since signing a five-year deal with Everton, Romelu Lukaku stated his determination to help the club finish in the top four and reach the Champions League.

Dizzy Evertonians are still coming to terms with the club record £28million deal to bring Lukaku back to Goodison on a permanent basis.

It is the type of transfer the supporters are used to seeing happen at other clubs, with Everton usually scratching around for loan deals - unless a key player was sold.

Lukaku's arrival though could prove to be a watershed moment in the history of the club and certainly represents a radical change of direction on the transfer front after years of austerity.

What makes it even better is that after last year's loan deal he is already familiar with the club and his team-mates as well as buillding up a rapport with the supporters, meaning he should hit the ground running when the season kicks off.

The Blues challenged at the top of the table for much of last season, only to fall away in the final stages. However, their record points tally would have been good enough to finish in the top four the previous season.

Many 'experts' said Everton's team was built on shaky foundations and would collapse once their loan players returned to their parent clubs.

But with Gareth Barry and Lukaku as well as Muhamed Besic now in place, with the prospect of two further permanent signings as well as three loans, Everton look to have the quality and - crucially - the quantity needed to sustained a top four challenge.

This is what the Rom had to say:

"I’m very pleased – it’s a big honour to play at such a wonderful club, with the manager and the players. This is the place where I belong.

"I had lots of options but I wanted to stay in the Premier League and I decided very quickly that I wanted to come back here. I’m 21 years of age and this is a good step for me – I need to play at a high level and in a good team.

"It felt right and here I feel like I have the confidence of the whole technical staff and the supporters - people who will help me develop. These are all good things to become a better player.

"Last year was a very good year and I had a feeling this was the best place to grow as a young man and a footballer, so I’m very pleased to be here again and to help my teammates to reach the heights.

"We want to become one of the best teams in England - we want to reach the top four. Last season we were very close and now we want to push on again.

"Most teams know we are a good footballing side but now this is our second year [under Martinez] and the manager wants to put out a statement in this league. We, as players, do as well."

"Roberto has been very influential. He’s someone who knows football very well and is someone I can develop under as a player.

"He makes us better as a team and lets us play good football, which is something that I need as a young player.

"He wants to make our team one of the best in England. He challenged me personally and did good things for me. I am grateful for that."