The Premier League is done and dusted and the business of player transfers is quickly taking hold. The latest in early window trading is the potential Manchester United snubbing of target Romelu Lukaku for bitter rivals Chelsea.
The 24-year-old is currently on international duty with Belgium but, according to the Independent, has given indications that his future lies with the club that offloaded him to Everton on a full-time basis back in 2014.
Having been shipped out on loan to West Brom and then Everton, the striker only made ten appearances for the newly-crowned Premier League champions before he joined the Merseyside outfit for a club record fee of £28 million.
Now, following three prolific seasons in front of goal, he has once again become a target of the richest clubs in England.
According to the report, Manchester United made enquiries about Lukaku’s availability last week but were informed that a deal with Chelsea was close.
With an eye-watering price tag of some £100 million placed on the player by Everton, it is understood that Chelsea are hoping to seal the deal for a ‘mere’ £80 million, a nearly three-fold increase in his price they themselves demanded in 2014.
The curveball, however, is that Everton would prefer sending Lukaku across the M62 to Manchester as they are keen on a deal that would include players such as Chris Smalling and Sergio Romero.
When asked, Lukaku himself, who is a self-professing Chelsea fan, let it be known that there are talks underway. He did not, however, reveal with what club.
“I know what’s happening, but I can’t tell you anything more. I know what’s happening. I know what’s happening, but I will leave the talks to my agent.
“The most important thing is: I want to win trophies. We are now talking to the club. As for the rest… I’m looking ahead. What I would like most to play in the Champions League and try to win the Premier League once. Or better: a few times. That would be the most beautiful thing.
“That’s important for my progress as a player. I don’t want to stay at the same level. I want to improve and I know where I want to do that.
“We’ll see what happens.”
Having been linked with both United and Chelsea last term but ultimately choosing to remain at Goodison Park, fans will be looking to see if a deal can be done this summer.
At this early stage of the transfer window, it appears that the Belgian is on the move, with the only question being whether it will be the short trip east to Old Trafford or south to the capital.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena