• Anderlecht loanee explains decision to reject Scottish giants ahead of upcoming Champions League clash.
  • Onyekuru joined Everton for £7m in June before being loaned back to Belgium.
  • Arsenal and West Ham had also pursued 20-year-old during his promising stint at Eupen.

Everton striker Henry Onyekuru claims he was aware of summer interest from reigning Scottish champions Celtic, but felt it was his "destiny" to complete a switch to Goodison Park instead.

The Nigerian international was linked with numerous British clubs - including West Ham United and Arsenal - during the early stages of the summer after catching the eye in a two-year stint with Eupen, but eventually opted for Merseyside in a £7m ($9m) deal before being promptly dispatched back to Belgium to complete a season-long loan spell at Anderlecht.

Celtic were among the suitors to miss out on Onyekuru, who will have an early opportunity to show Brendan Rodgers exactly what he is missing when the Hoops visit the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels on 27 September for a clash between the two Champions League Group B underdogs.

Addressing Celtic's pursuit of his signature and that eventual decision to join Everton, the 20-year-old told the Daily Record: "I knew of the interest from Celtic but it was my destiny to join Everton. I'm really happy that a club like Celtic were interested in me.

"But I still need to improve as a player and I can do that at Anderlecht before hopefully playing in the Premier League.

"I want to have an excellent season in Belgium before returning to Everton. But the Champions League draw has been very tough for us, it's one of the more difficult groups. PSG and Bayern are obviously the favourites to qualify but Celtic is also a complicated opponent for us. Anderlecht's results have been up and down recently but this squad is prepared to fight in Europe."

Onyekuru, who scored 30 goals in 60 total appearances for Eupen, has yet to find the net in five outings for Rene Weiler's Anderlecht against Zulte Waregem, Oostende, Charleroi, St Truiden and Gent.

The Purple and Whites have the small matter of a trip to Bayern Munich to contend with before hosting Celtic and Onyekuru claims that the latter clash will not provide him with any greater incentive to succeed.

"I won't have extra motivation for the matches with Celtic," he added. "For me, I treat every match like a cup final and I'll be searching for my best performance against them."

Onyekuru was signing number three of a busy summer window for ambitious Everton, who also recruited Wayne Rooney, Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez and Cuco Martina. Ronald Koeman added teenage Hajduk Split forward Nikola Vlasic to his squad on deadline day, but was unable to secure the striker or the left-sided centre-back that he so evidently desired.

Celtic, meanwhile, spent approximately £4.5m to sign France Under-21 midfielder Olivier Ntcham from Manchester City and further strengthened a squad that went unbeaten in domestic competition in 2016-17 by landing Jonny Hayes and Kundai Benyu. Patrick Roberts returned on another loan deal and teenager Odsonne Edouard joined from Paris Saint-Germain, although Ajax Cape Town defender Rivaldo Coetzee failed a medical before signing for Mamelodi Sundowns.

Henry Onyekuru
Henry Onyekuru joined Everton in June before being loaned out to Anderlecht Instagram/Henry Onyekuru