Manchester United have agreed a £75 million fee with Everton to buy striker Romelu Lukaku, and are confident of pushing through the deal before the weekend so that the Belgium international can fly out with the rest of the team to the United States on Sunday. He is seen as a replacement for the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was released by United last month.
Lukaku rejected a new contract at Everton in March and has since been linked with former club Chelsea and German champions Bayern Munich. The move, if it goes through, will be a significant blow to Chelsea, whose manager Antonio Conte had hoped that Lukaku would re-join the London club.
Lukaku was sold from Chelsea to Everton by José Mourinho, who is now the manager at Old Trafford and the striker’s instinct had been to move back to London.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United’s captain and who is in talks with Everton over a return there from United, will not be part of any deal for Lukaku. However, negotiations are set to continue between United and Everton to take the 31-year-old back to Goodison Park.
United had been in discussions with Real Madrid over the possible signing of Álvaro Morata but became frustrated when the Spanish side refused to budge on their asking price of €90m (£79m).
Mourinho had become frustrated with the lack of signings this summer with Benfica’s Swedish centre-back Victor Lindelof the only player to join so far, despite telling the club that he wanted as many new arrivals as possible to go on the pre-season tour.
The 24-year-old, who joined Everton permanently in 2014, scored 25 goals and provided six assists in 37 league games last season to finish as the league’s second highest scorer. His exploits helped Everton secure a seventh-placed league finish. Lukaku had become one of the Premier League’s most prolific strikers in his three seasons at Goodison Park, scoring 71 goals in 133 games.