Manch­ester United agree fee for Lukaku

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Bel­gian in­ter­na­tional striker Romelu Lukaku is set to join Manch­ester United for a re­ported £75mil­lion ($97m, 85.5m eu­ros), a record fee be­tween Bri­tish clubs, af­ter the buy­ing club an­nounced yeste­day they had reached agree­ment with Ever­ton. The 24-year-old’s sign­ing rep­re­sents a coup for United and their man­ager Jose Mour­inho as the lat­ter’s for­mer club cham­pi­ons 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 ac­cord­ing to press re­ports 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. 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 on its web­site 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’. Chelsea, ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tish me­dia, baulked at pay­ing Raiola’s fee for Lukaku’s trans­fer.

Ibrahi­movic’s long-term in­jury suf­fered in a Europa League match last sea­son and the fad­ing pow­ers of Rooney have made the cap­ture of a top striker im­per­a­tive for Mour­inho. Ap­par­ent ef­forts to sign Real Madrid’s Al­varo Mo­rata came to noth­ing lead­ing United to switch their at­ten­tion to Lukaku. Iron­i­cally Chelsea may now need to beat a path to Real’s door to try and se­cure Mo­rata’s ser­vices.

Ever­ton-who have spent freely in the close sea­son-are be­lieved to have hoped to sell Lukaku for closer to £100m which would have made him the world’s most ex­pen­sive player bet­ter­ing the £89m that United spent on Pogba last year. As it is, the deal could smash the record for a trans­fer fee be­tween Bri­tish clubs-the record is the £50m paid by Chelsea to Liverpool for Fer­nando Tor­res in 2011 — and reg­is­ter as the joint-fifth most ex­pen­sive player of all time. The deal would also see Ever­ton make a tidy profit on what they spent on Lukaku af­ter he had im­pressed dur­ing a loan spell. Lukaku, who scored 53 Premier League goals in 110 ap­pear­ances for the club since his per­ma­nent move, de­clined the most lu­cra­tive con­tract of­fer in Ever­ton’s his­tory at the end of last sea­son, declar­ing he wished to play at a higher level.

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