Manchester United are reportedly set to offer Wayne Rooney as a sweetener to Everton to secure the summer deal for Romelu Lukaku.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Jose Mourinho is ready to offer Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney to Everton as a makeweight in the deal to sign Romelu Lukaku in the summer transfer window.

Lukaku is evolving into one of the most menacing strikers in world football at Everton. Now in his fourth season with the Toffees, the Belgian striker has been as prolific as any other player in the Premier League in this period, while playing an instrumental role in his side’s fortunes.

2016/17 has been his most fruitful season to date, finding the back of the net 24 times in the Premier League, thereby leading the race to win the Golden Boot. As Lukaku continues to come into his own as a prolific powerhouse, top clubs across Europe are starting to circle around the player.

Among these, Chelsea and Manchester United are reported to be leading the race to sign the Belgium international, ready to go head-to-head to land him in the summer.

Diego Costa’s Chelsea future is mired in uncertainty, with a big money move to the Chinese Super League being speculated. With Michy Batshuayi struggling to make a pronounced impression since joining the West London club last summer, Antonio Conte is reportedly eager to land a top quality striker.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are in a dire need to sign a striker with a gruesome knee injury putting a premature end to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s career with the club in all likelihood.

Jose Mourinho now has just Marcus Rashford to call upon to lead his side’s attack, and with the club set to compete on four fronts yet again next season, the Manchester United boss needs at least one reinforcement up front. As a result, he has identified Lukaku as one of his top targets.

However, Manchester United are unwilling to shell out £100 million to secure his services, despite Everton slapping the aforementioned price tag on the player. As a result, the Red Devils are preparing to offer Wayne Rooney as a makeweight as part of the deal.

Will it be Manchester or London for Lukaku? (Photo courtesy - Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Will it be Manchester or London for Lukaku? (Photo courtesy – Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Rooney has endured a torrid campaign in 2016/17, having been reduced to a bit-part role. And despite insisting that he wants to remain at Old Trafford beyond this season, it is believed that he is likely to leave Manchester United in the summer.

Goodison Park could be his next destination, with the boyhood Evertonian reported to be open to a return to the Merseyside club. However, the report stresses that Rooney wants to leave Manchester United on his own terms and will only move as a makeweight if the offer is right.

The 31-year-old will have to take £100,000-a-week pay cut to return to Everton, and with lucrative offers from China and MLS rumoured to be on his table as well, it remains to be seen if he accepts the deal.

Manchester United, meanwhile, believe that they can recoup £17 million for Rooney, although Everton are unwilling to pay over £10 million for him. It now remains to be seen if such a deal sees the light of the day.

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