Reported interest from Juventus did not persuade Romelu Lukaku to push to leave Everton, but talk of a new contract may be premature.
Romelu Lukaku claims he opted against a move to Juventus in order to stay at Everton.
Belgium international Lukaku joined Everton from Chelsea in 2014 for a reported club record fee of £28million after an impressive loan spell at Goodison Park.
The 23-year-old has made 130 appearances in all competitions for the Merseyside club and scored 61 goals, but was linked with an exit during the previous transfer window.
Chelsea were reportedly interested in re-signing the Belgian, while Juve were also touted as a potential destination.
Despite missing out on continental football by staying at Everton, Lukaku felt it was the right decision to stay, though he admitted the club did not give him much choice.
“It stings a little [not being in Europe], but I’m someone who believes that everything happens for a reason,” Lukaku said in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad.
“Otherwise I would have gone to Juventus instead of staying at Everton. But I opted for Everton because it was too early for Italy and I have not done badly here.
“Now we have a new coach and it is completely different than with Mr [Roberto] Martinez, but I think we can make progress under Ronald Koeman. It may be the last step and then look further.
“I knew of the interest of a few clubs, it was quickly very clear that Everton would not let me go. It was important to me that I remained calm, and I did.
“I said to myself that I will do my best and who knows what will happen in the future.”
Everton are believed to be interested in offering Lukaku, who has three seasons remaining on his existing deal, a new contract.
The striker says he will decide whatever is in his best interest but insists he will continue to work hard for his club regardless.
“I tell [agent] Mino [Raiola] what I think about it [contract renewal] and eventually we have to make the decision that is best for me,” added Lukaku.
“For me football is not about money – I want to win prizes. But when I get into a situation where I can leave but my team will not let me, I’m not someone who misses training, gets fined and develops a bad reputation.
“I try to remain calm and treat my club with respect. Hopefully they also treat me with respect and I can leave through the front door.”