Romelu Lukaku says his desire to play in the Champions League and win titles along with Everton’s failure to attract the best players are the reasons behind his decision not to sign a new contract.
The striker, who is the joint top-scorer in the Premier League with Harry Kane on 19 goals, has told the Toffees he will not sign a new deal which would have made him the club’s first £100,000-plus-a-week player.
Everton remain determined to tie their star asset to an extended deal, but the comments – in an interview with several national newspapers – will be alarming for the Goodison Park hierarchy.
The 23-year-old said he is close to being one of the best strikers in the world but needs to be playing on the biggest stage.
“To do that, you need the platform to show yourself,” he said. “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.
“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.
“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.
“Everton as a football club has a great history. 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.”
Everton splashed the cash this season, spending £25million on Morgan Schneiderlin and £20million on Yannick Bolasie, but Lukaku believes there needs to be a bigger influx of top players.
“Instead of living in the past, you have to think ahead,” he added. “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 (Manchester) 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 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.
“I don’t know what the board’s plan is. I don’t really know. 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.”