London (AFP) – Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku is joining Manchester United for a reported £75million ($97m, 85.5m euros), a record fee between British clubs, after a deal waa agreed with Everton on Saturday.
The 24-year-old’s signing — which the BBC says includes £15m in add-ons — represents a coup for United and their manager Jose Mourinho whose former club Chelsea had earmarked him as their top striking target for the close season.
Going in the opposite direction could well be United and England record goalscorer Wayne Rooney, who was caught on camera by Sky Sports arriving at Finch Farm the Everton training centre on Saturday afternoon.
According to press reports the 31-year-old is willing to take a cut in his £13million a year wages to return to his first club, but with the promise of more first team football than at United last year.
There are conflicting reports as to whether he would be a makeweight in the Lukaku deal with the BBC claiming he isn’t and will be let go for free and other media outlets suggesting that United might want a fee of £10m for the one year remaining on his contract.
It brings Mourinho and Lukaku back together again as the Portuguese manager in his second spell as Chelsea manager had sold him to Everton in 2014 for £28million.
United said in a statement it was “delighted to announce a fee has been agreed with Everton for the transfer of Romelu Lukaku, subject to a medical & personal terms.
“A further announcement will be made in due course,” added United.
Lukaku, who is reported to have been offered wages of over £200,000 a week by United, should have returned to England on Thursday for pre-season training with Everton but instead was pictured training with his close friend and the most expensive player in the world, United midfielder Paul Pogba, who he is on holiday with in Los Angeles.
United are due in Los Angeles this weekend for a pre-season tour.
According to British media reports the decisive factor in Lukaku’s head being turned towards United and not a return to the club he idolised as a schoolboy Chelsea were Pogba and their agent Mino Raiola.
– ‘Most lucrative contract offer’ –
Raiola did extremely well out of United last year making an estimated £40m from Pogba’s transfer from Juventus alone while stablemates Henrykh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic also joined the ‘Red Devils’.