How a 'Voodoo Message' Saw Manchester United Spend £75 Million on Romelu Lukaku

Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku opted to leave Everton in the summer after a "voodoo message" told him to join Chelsea, the club's majority shareholder Fahrad Moshiri has claimed.

Lukaku ended up joining Manchester United for £75 million in July, just five months after his agent Mino Raiola had said a new contract with Everton was "99.9 percent done."

At a meeting of shareholders, Moshiri said that Lukaku received the message during a "pilgrimage to Africa" just before he was due to sign a new contract at Everton.

"He had a voodoo and got the message he needs to go to Chelsea," Moshiri said, as quoted by the BBC.

Moshiri, an Iranian billionaire who has invested £150 million into Everton to clear debts, went on to say that the club offered Lukaku an "unbelievable" amount of money and more than Chelsea had.

Raiola, Moshiri said, was on his way to the club's training base Finch Farm to make the final details of the contract when Lukaku revealed the voodoo message.

"The issue with Romelu was not financial. As long as I am major shareholder, financial issues are irrelevant," Moshiri said.

"I wasted two summers to keep him. First summer with his agent, him and his family we managed to keep him. Last summer we offered him a better deal than Chelsea—whatever they offered we matched but he just didn't want to stay.

"If I tell you what we offered him you wouldn't believe it, but they offered him a better deal."

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku at NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, July 20, 2017. Lukaku left Everton because of a "voodoo message," the club's majority shareholder Fahrad Moshiri has said. AARON M. SPRECHER/AFP/Getty

Lukaku spent the summer in Los Angeles with Manchester United midfielder and friend Paul Pogba before his record transfer to Old Trafford instead of Chelsea. Antonio Conte's team ended up signing Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid for £70 million instead.

Lukaku had a fantastic start to life under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United as he scored 11 goals in his first 10 games for the club, but he has hit a dry spell in recent months.

The 24-year-old scored just one goal in 12 games between October and December, and his strike against Derby in the FA Cup third round on Friday (January 5) was his first in five games.

Everton, meanwhile, have also seen Ross Barkley leave the club this month. The England international joined Chelsea for £15 million on Saturday.