Jose Mourinho says striker Romelu Lukaku is a “good kid” but was not motivated enough to fight for a starting spot at Chelsea.
The Belgian international moved to Everton for a reported 28 million pounds ($47.25 million) on Wednesday, having scored 16 goals in 33 appearances while on loan, his second spell away from Chelsea, at Goodison Park last season.
He joined Chelsea from Anderlecht for 18 million pounds in 2011 but failed to make an impact at Stamford Bridge and spent the 2012-13 season on loan at West Bromwich Albion.
The arrival of Spain striker Diego Costa and return of Ivorian Didier Drogba pushed the 21-year-old further down the pecking order at Chelsea, with manager Mourinho saying the Belgian lacked motivation to compete for a starting spot.
“Romelu was always very clear with us with his mentality and his approach was not highly motivated to come to a competitive situation with Chelsea,” Mourinho said in comments reported by British media.
“He wanted to play for Chelsea but he clearly wanted to be first-choice striker but for a club of our dimension, it is very difficult to promise to a player.
“That reduced, immediately, his desire to come to us.
“After that, Everton came with an important offer and as I always say, because it’s the reality of our club and we want to be inside the Financial Fair Play rules, it’s always in the thoughts of the board.
“The important thing is that he’s happy and things work well for him, he’s a good kid and has his way of thinking and organising his career.”
The Portuguese also told Sky Sports on Thursday that Spain striker Fernando Torres would not be sold before the end of the transfer window as he needed three senior strikers.
Torres has struggled since joining from Liverpool three seasons ago, but would not be let go despite the club needing to reduce the number of foreign players on its books.
Lukaku, who scored once for Belgium as they reached the World Cup quarter-finals, said he had no regrets over his time at Chelsea and was looking forward to working with Everton boss Roberto Martinez once more.
“In football you don’t have regrets,” he said.
“Sometimes choices are made. Mr Martinez will be one of the top managers in the world and to play under him now, and for such wonderful fans, is an honour. We have a lot of young players who want to be part of one of the best teams in England.
“I am very happy with the choices I’ve made. Sometimes things like this happen in football.”
Lukaku’s goals helped fire Everton to their highest points tally (72) in the Premier League last term and a fifth place finish, and Martinez said he had the potential to be the best number nine in the game.
“Over the next few years you will see Rom develop into a special talent but he needs to keep working and developing and keep his standards,” the Spaniard said. “I’m excited to see how far Rom can take us and we can take Rom.”