Everton’s Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku is set to join Manchester United instead of champions Chelsea for a fee of £75 million ($97m, 85.5m euros), 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, 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 Antoni 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.