Manchester United are hoping to beat Chelsea to the signing of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku this summer, despite being on the verge of signing Alvaro Morata, according to widespread reports in the English press.
The Daily Mail, Telegraph and Mirror each appear to have been briefed on United’s continued interest in the 24-year-old, and it’s even said that the Red Devils are willing to break the £100m barrier to lure the Belgian from Merseyside.
It’s quite the twist in proceedings – Lukaku had widely been expected to join Chelsea at some point this summer – but the latest seems to suggest that his future is far from clear cut. There are even suggestions that United could use club captain Wayne Rooney as a potential makeweight in the deal in order to soften Everton’s stance.
Rooney’s agent is said to have met with Everton chairman Bill Kenwright on Wednesday afternoon, following reports earlier this week that he was set to make a return to Goodison Park after falling down the pecking order at Old Trafford. Rooney’s move is likely, though the method of his return and whether it could be involved with the Lukaku transfer remains to be seen.
Romelu Lukaku is + has always been, a summer target for @ManUtd. Seems more gettable now than previously. As with Rooney, no deal done yet.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) July 6, 2017
Lukaku was initially believed to prefer the return to Chelsea – current United manager Jose Mourinho sold him to Everton for £28m in 2014 – but the Telegraph’s report claims that “United have been working behind the scenes on a deal for Lukaku for the past several weeks” and that Chelsea have yet to make any formal offer.
The press appear to have been briefed on the Lukaku situation given the flow of reporting, but it’s worth taking the new information with a large pinch of salt. It’s worth considering that this may be a ploy from Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola, to drum up United’s interest in order to encourage Chelsea to complete their own move for the player.
Even if United’s interest in Lukaku is legitimate, the club are still expected to complete a deal to sign Morata from Real Madrid, with hopes that the player will be in place to join the club on their pre-season tour of the United States.