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Everton believe Chelsea will aggressively challenge Manchester United for Romelu Lukaku as £75m transfer intensifies

Those close to Chelsea maintain that no deal is done and there could yet be a response - and a high bid - that could swing the situation again

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Thursday 06 July 2017 15:29 BST
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Romelu Lukaku's future remains up in the air with Chelsea refusing to give up
Romelu Lukaku's future remains up in the air with Chelsea refusing to give up (Getty)

Everton expect Chelsea to aggressively challenge Manchester United for the signature of Romelu Lukaku despite Jose Mourinho’s personal intervention this week putting them in pole position to sign him.

While there has not yet been an official bid from United - explaining some of the apparent contradictions in information over the last 24 hours as to whether any offer was accepted - there have indeed been positive discussions between Everton and the Manchester club that were also connected to Wayne Rooney's pending return to Goodison Park, meaning it is believed that £75m could be enough to seal the deal.

Lukaku himself is willing to go to United and team up with former Chelsea boss Mourinho despite having previously looked set to return to Stamford Bridge. Those close to the situation now consider it likely he will end up at Old Trafford.

The Old Trafford hierarchy had made initial enquiries for the striker in the wake of top target Antoine Griezmann's decision to remain at Atletico Madrid back at the beginning of June, only to be told that there had been significant progress in an anticipated move back to Chelsea.

The stalling of that, in what has been a somewhat frustrating summer transfer window for the Premier League champions so far - as well as Real Madrid's refusal to budge on their €90m asking price for United target Alvaro Morata - saw the Manchester club sense an opportunity to pounce.

It quickly became apparent that both the Toffees and Lukaku would be willing to do business, in a move that will likely net him upwards of £200,000 a week in wages.

Those close to Chelsea, however, maintain that no deal is done and there could yet be a response - and a high bid - that could swing the situation again, but it would currently take something significant to dislodge United.

Lukaku has emerged as a top target for United (Getty)

The move comes as Mourinho himself is said to have taken a more hands-on role in transfers in his determination to get business done.

He is understood to have no real preference over whether it is Morata or Lukaku, although there would obviously be a certain satisfaction in trumping his former club to a big deal.

United sources have also said a Lukaku move would kill any deal for Morata, but others at Old Trafford and close to Real Madrid maintain that would not be the case, and Mourinho would actually still like to bring in two forwards.

A further twist to an already complicated situation, however, is that Lukaku going to United could see Chelsea finally turn to Morata again after initially cooling their interest.

Nemanja Matic is also still likely to go to Old Trafford once the champions sign Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco.

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