Romelu Lukaku close to £75 million move to Manchester United: reports
Jose Mourinho appears have to beaten Chelsea’s Antonio Conte for the Belgian striker, who scored 25 league goals for Everton last season
Everton’s Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku is set to join Manchester United instead of champions Chelsea for a fee of £75 million (HK$757 million), according to the British media.
Both the BBC and Press Association reported the deal was all but done for the 24-year-old Lukaku, who will be reunited with Jose Mourinho the man who sold him to Everton in 2014 for £28m when the Portuguese coach was in his second spell as Chelsea manager.
Everton had offered the former Anderlecht star the most lucrative contract in the club’s history after he scored 25 Premier League goals last season but he turned it down, saying he wanted to move on to another level.
This alerted several clubs to his availability with Chelsea initially the favourites but Mourinho – who enjoys excellent relations with his agent Mino Raiola – looks to have snatched him from under Antonio Conte’s nose.
If the deal goes through Lukaku’s arrival at Old Trafford would suggest United cease their interest in signing Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid.
Raiola has had a profitable time since Mourinho took over at United last year, with the world’s most expensive player Paul Pogba, attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, all his clients, arriving at the club in 2016.
Meanwhile, England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney could be set for a return to Everton, the club where he made his name, according to the British media.
The 31-year-old who flourished at Everton – bursting on to the scene as a teenager and scoring 15 goals in 67 appearances – has become a peripheral figure at Manchester United since Jose Mourinho took over last year.
Rooney, who also lost his place in the England squad, has stated the only other Premier League side he would consider joining is Everton and with apparently interest fading from China either a return to Merseyside or a move to the United States looked to be his best options.
The Daily Mail says Everton are hopeful of “thrashing out a deal” while The Guardian noted that with one year remaining on his contract, United may demand a transfer fee but not a sizeable one for the player who joined the club in 2004 for £27 million.
The paper also said the deal would also lighten United’s annual wage bill by £13 million.
Rooney and United favour a permanent deal rather than a loan, although Everton may balk at the wages demands, according to the reports.
Rooney is not expected to demand a permanent first team place but is keen to play more often than he did at United where he made just 26 appearances last term.