United nabs Lukaku from under Chelsea’s nose
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.