The Independent has been told that Jose Mourinho had instructed executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward this week to move on from striker target Alvaro Morata and on to Everton’s Romelu Lukaku after growing impatient with the Spanish club’s refusal to budge from their €90m asking price.
However, that hasn’t yet affected talks over the Colombian star, as Mourinho seeks to solve one of United’s main problems last season and make them more productive in front of goal.
While Mourinho has previously had reservations about signing James, he can see a role for him in attack that will also lack the versatility of Everton-bound Wayne Rooney. The player’s marketability and commercial appeal would also fulfil Woodward’s desire to bring in a “star” every summer. United had previously felt a deal may have been possible for Gareth Bale, but he has decided to remain in Madrid.
The move has been mooted in the past - and looked a distinctive possibility were Louis van Gaal to remain at the club after 2015-16 - but has increased in possibility now, as Real look to sell both Morata and James in order to finance and clear space for a deal for Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe.
James would likely cost less than Morata, although United would similarly hope to pay less than the €70m Real Madrid would want. The fact that asking price was one reason that the Old Trafford club moved on from Morata, however, adds further intrigue to the dealings between the club this summer and the possibility of James moving to United.
Talks are ongoing.
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