In a new interview released this evening, Everton’s star striker Romelu Lukaku spoke at length with various media sources on Tuesday at USM Finch Farm, without necessarily divulging in so many words that he wanted out this coming summer.
The Belgian forward sounded frustrated that Everton did not make the big name signings that Manchester City did during their meteoric rise, but seems to have conveniently forgotten that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) came in because of what teams like City did and would have prevented Farhad Moshiri from bringing in a boatload of expensive players.
(Transcript courtesy of The Liverpool Echo)
Q: You’ve been getting better and better all the time.
A: I’m really happy. I’m really happy but I can’t say that I am overjoyed. There have been parts that we could have done better.
We have a team that has a lot of quality and a lot of ability but we let ourselves down before Christmas. One win in 10 games? That’s where we let ourselves down.
But I think at the time we were adapting to the way the manager wants us to play. When you play in a certain way for a number of years then there is change to the system then for us it is difficult to adapt. You are used to training a certain way.
Your body is used to certain things. Now it is a total different regime and you have to adapt.
Okay, now we are doing well. Everyone is happy. But we cannot stay at this moment.
We have to become stronger, we have to become technically and tactically better. We have to start winning big games. That is what it is all about.
Q: You said last year that you would one day be top scorer in the Premier League. Your main rival Kane is out now. Will this be your season?
A: He is a top player (Harry Kane). You want to see top players in the league. I am sad that he is injured. Everyone wants to see top players in the league and it is sad for Tottenham Hotspur and him.
I hope he gets better and becomes stronger than he is now. He is a good player.
But the most important thing for me is that we do better as a team. We have got 10 games left. That is 10 finals for me. I hope that is the same for the rest of the team.
I’m sure we will make the best out of them.
Q: Would it mean more to you if Kane had been fit?
A: I don’t look at that. I don’t look at other players if they aren’t going to teach me anything. If I don’t have the feeling that you aren’t going to teach me something, why should I look at you?
That is the thing that I have. I work on my aspects. I am focused on Everton and what I am doing. That is my focus.
Q: Which strikers do you look at then?
A: Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema. Edinson Cavani. That’s it. I’m not looking at the rest. No chance. I watch what they do in certain moments and I think “that’s interesting”. Now you are starting to compete and you want to show who is best. But as a team you want to be the best. I want my team to be the best. I want my team to be the most attractive to play in the league. At the end of the day, the big aim in football is to win as many titles as you can.
Q: How do you rate yourself among those strikers?
A: I’m close. Close. I’m close. At the minute I am one of the best strikers in the league. I can’t not say that. If I don’t say that I am one of the best? I am shooting myself in the head. At the minute I am one of the best in the Premier League. 100 per cent.
Q: Can you be one of the best in the world?
A: Definitely. Definitely. But to do that, you need the platform to show yourself. Then you are talking about Champions League and whatever types of games. I don’t want to go into details on that but you just follow the path that is in front of you. Whatever type of situation, I just try to deliver.
Q: You were loyal to stay this season - have you learnt from Koeman?
A: If I didn’t think I would have learnt something from him I probably would have left. I probably would have said: “You know what, I don’t have the energy or whatever.”
But from our first conversations when I was at the Euros in France they were really honest, we spoke a few times and he explained how he wanted to play, how he expected things and stuff and I was just listening to what he had to say.
I told the manager it will take a few weeks, but once I get it, don’t worry, it will be fine.
Q: Are you worried the club could price you out of a move?
A: Not really, no.
Q: You said you would have left last season?
A: I am not scared of anything. I am not scared. I am just playing football and just trying to do whatever I can to help Everton Football Club become a better club. Like every team-mate.
We want the best for the club because we have great facilities, good fans. An example like Everton in the Community who work hard, you have a good bunch of lads. But at the end of the day fans want to see trophies, players want trophies so we need to try more, give a bit more.
That is the only thing I would say.
You should not shy away from it. Like if you don’t win a trophy there is something that has gone wrong because if you have the belief that you can do something, you can do it. If you have the belief and you work hard for it and you focus on that you have to deliver and you really deliver then you can get it. Nothing is going to stop you. That is how I think.
Sometimes in my games I am like, “Today it is going to happen.” And it happens. Sometimes it doesn’t happen but at least you have to give it a go. If you don’t give it a go, it is a chance going past you like that.
Q: Do you think in the past the club has maybe accepted it won't win a trophy and ploughed on instead of having the attitude it can?
A: You have to have the attitude… you have to …
Everton as a football club has a great history right. But the future has to be written. You get me?
Because we always talk about the teams of the 80s and 70s and if you look it was great. But we as players we want the fans talking about us instead of us talking about them. No disrespect but you know what I mean.
You want to be remembered as well. No matter where you play you want to be remembered. You cannot only be remembered by scoring goals, you want to be remembered by winning trophies at the end of the day.
That is what the fans want.
So instead of living in the past, you have to think ahead. How this club has to grow, how this club has to improve, which player does it want to bring in so you can challenge for the big trophies.
Then like sometimes I will speak to Vincent Kompany who was at City when it all happened. He said, “Rom, one summer I just came in and boom, boom, boom, boom… Robinho from there, that guy came in, this guy came in, this guy came in (clicking fingers) and then everyone was criticising them but at the end, they had League titles, FA Cup here, League Cups there.”
That is what we want as players.
Q: Can’t that happen here?
A: I don’t know, I don’t know what the board’s plan is. I don’t really know.
Q: There's been evidence so far though hasn't there with Bolasie, Schneiderlin..?
A: Obviously, yes, but I don’t know what the board’s plan is.
I don’t know what the plan is because I cannot be focused one thing and then… my focus is on the pitch and if something happens I will hear it or see it. That is the only thing (I can do).
As players the only job we have is train and play, train and play, train and play, train and play.
Q: But surely you think the club sees you as integral to where they want to go? Don't you think the club now is different to the one you joined?
A: Obviously stuff is changing and stuff is happening, but like I said there were some players that we could have got. That I knew the club could have got and they didn’t get. And they are playing in this league. I am not saying names, but they are doing well.
Q: Is that frustrating?
A: It is a little bit frustrating but, at the end of the day, we have fantastic players. We cannot look at the others, we can only look at ourselves. We are the only ones to blame. We cannot blame the fans. We cannot blame the manager.
The manager has to choose from 25 players and if you don’t work hard enough. I mean you are not going to give the fans what they want. Us as players we need to give a bit more and that is a nice challenge. I really relish that challenge to be fair, I relish that challenge. The last 10 games of the season I think: “Bring it on. Let’s go.”