Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku looks on during the FA Cup third round match against Derby County. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku looks on during the FA Cup third round match against Derby County. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce watches from the stands with major shareholder Farhad Moshiri (right). Photo: Peter Byrne / PA
Everton manager Sam Allardyce watches from the stands with major shareholder Farhad Moshiri (right). Photo: Peter Byrne / PA

LONDON - Belgian international Romelu Lukaku rejected Everton's offer of a reported £140,000 ($189,000) a week because of a voodoo message, the Premier League club's major shareholder Farhad Moshiri revealed on Tuesday.

Moshiri told fellow shareholders at the club's AGM that the 24-year-old striker -- who eventually joined Manchester United for £75 million instead of Chelsea, despite the Blues thinking they had secured his signature -- looked set to sign the new contract until he made a phone call to his mother.

"We offered him a better deal than Chelsea and his agent came to Finch Farm (the club's training centre) to sign the contract," said Moshiri.

"Robert (Elstone, the club's chief executive) was there, everything was in place, there were a few reporters outside, then in the meeting Rom called his mother.

"He said she was on a pilgrimage in Africa or somewhere and he had a voodoo and got the message that he needs to go to Chelsea," added the 62-year-old Iran-born businessman.

Moshiri, who has invested £150million of his own money into the club to clear debts, said he considered Lukaku's departure was a personal failure for him.

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

"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.

"I got close to Rom, I like the boy, he's a good boy, and I used all my charm to keep him and I flatly failed," Moshiri added.

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