United nabs Lukaku from un­der Chelsea’s nose

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — Romelu Lukaku is join­ing Manch­ester United for a re­ported £75 mil­lion ($97 mil­lion), a record fee be­tween Bri­tish clubs, af­ter a deal was agreed with Ever­ton on Satur­day.

The 24-year-old’s ar­rival at Old Traf­ford sees United fend off Chelsea’s in­ter­est in the Bel­gium in­ter­na­tional.

United and Eng­land’s all­time top scorer Wayne Rooney, who was at Ever­ton’s train­ing cen­ter on Satur­day, is poised to move in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

The 31-year-old Merseysider and boy­hood Ever­ton fan is re­port­edly will­ing to take a cut in his £13 mil­lion salary to re­turn to his first club as he seeks more first-team ac­tion.

How­ever, it is not clear if he is a makeweight in the Lukaku deal. The BBC claims he isn’t and will be let go for free, while other out­lets suggest that United might want a fee of £10 mil­lion for the one year re­main­ing on his con­tract.

The move re­unites United boss Jose Mour­inho and Lukaku. Dur­ing his se­cond spell as Chelsea boss, Mour­inho sold Lukaku to Ever­ton in 2014 for £28 mil­lion.

Lukaku scored 53 Pre­mier League goals in 110 ap­pear­ances for Ever­ton since his per­ma­nent move there.

As it is, the deal could smash the record for a trans­fer fee be­tween Bri­tish clubs — the big­gest is the £50 mil­lion paid by Chelsea to Liver­pool for Fer­nando Tor­res in 2011.

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 and per­sonal terms”.

“A fur­ther an­nounce­ment will be made in due course,” United added.

Lukaku, who will re­ported ly earn wages of around £200,000 at United, was ex­pected in Eng­land on Thurs­day for pre-sea­son train­ing with the Tof­fees, but in­stead was pic­tured work­ing out with his close friend and the most ex­pen­sive player in the world, United mid­fielder Paul Pogba, in Los An­ge­les.

If he wasn’t in the news enough this week, LA po­lice re­vealed on Satur­day that Lukaku was ar­rested for dis­turb­ing the peace at a house in Bev­erly Hills on July 2, af­ter of­fi­cers warned him five times to turn down mu­sic at a party.

The ex-An­der­lecht for­ward was is­sued with a mis­de­meanor ci­ta­tion and is sched­uled to ap­pear in Los An­ge­les Su­pe­rior Court on Oct 2.

That could see him miss United’s Pre­mier League visit of Crys­tal Palace on Sept 30.

Mean­while, United is due in LA this week­end for a pre-sea­son tour.

Ac­cord­ing to Bri­tish me­dia, the de­ci­sive fac­tors in Lukaku’s de­ci­sion to snub Chelsea, the club he idol­ized as a school­boy, were Pogba and their agent, Mino Raiola.

Raiola made an es­ti­mated £40 mil­lion from Pogba’s trans­fer from Ju­ven­tus to United, while sta­ble­mates Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan and Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic also moved to Old Traf­ford.

Chelsea re­port­edly baulked at pay­ing Raiola’s fee for Lukaku’s trans­fer af­ter mak­ing a sim­i­lar of­fer for the player.

The Pre­mier League cham­pion may now turn its at­ten­tion to Real Madrid striker Al­varo Mo­rata, who United has also been linked with.

Blues boss An­to­nio Conte re­port­edly feels be­trayed by Lukaku, es­pe­cially as he had held dis­cus­sions with him since the end of the sea­son.

The Ital­ian coach and his back­room staff are yet to sign the new four-year con­tracts they were of­fered at the end of the cam­paign.

Romelu Lukaku

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