Manchester United are reportedly set to challenge Chelsea in pursuit of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in the summer.
According to a report in The Independent, Manchester United are set to make a move for Romelu Lukaku with the pursuit of top target Antoine Griezmann all but over. The Red Devils are set to go head-to-head with Chelsea to land the Everton striker in the summer transfer window.
Lukaku has blossomed into one of the most devastating attacking forces in the Premier League since he made the permanent switch to Everton from Chelsea in 2013. An integral component in the Merseyside club’s first-team setup, his form has often been crucial to the Toffees’ fortunes.
2016/17 turned out to be the most productive season of his senior career thus far as Lukaku found the back of the net 25 times in the Premier League – second only behind Harry Kane in the race to win the Golden Boot. Such a stellar effort has now resulted in the player attracting the interest of some of the most prominent clubs in Europe.
Romelu Lukaku was the only Premier League player this season to score 5+ goals with his head, left and right foot.
6 head pic.twitter.com/iegtkMu2xY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 22, 2017
Manchester United and Chelsea, though, have been the front-runners in the race to sign Lukaku for several months now, and with the summer transfer window set to open, the two Premier League heavyweights are set to battle it out for the Belgian.
Diego Costa’s future at Chelsea is mired in heavy uncertainty, with reports suggesting that he could be set to depart from Stamford Bridge in the summer. Costa’s understudy Michy Batshuayi, meanwhile, has struggled to settle at the West London club.
Antonio Conte is, thus, believed to be keen on signing a quality striker this summer, with Lukaku being a priority target. However, Manchester United are set to challenge Chelsea for the player’s signature, as they too, are prioritising a move for the Belgium international.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic sustained a long-term knee injury in April and reports claim that he is likely to be sidelined for the remainder of 2017. In the Swede’s absence, Jose Mourinho has Marcus Rashford as the only recognised option to lead the line for Manchester United.
The Portuguese manager had, thus, been eyeing an attacking reinforcement, with Antoine Griezmann reported to be his top priority. However, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholding Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban for the summer, the move has all but collapsed.
The Manchester United boss is now prioritising the acquisition of an out and out striker and has, hence, turned his attention towards Lukaku. Personally for the player, a move to either club provides him the opportunity to move to the next level in his career – Champions League football.
Regular game time at Chelsea, though, hinges on the departure of Costa, while Manchester United would give him a chance to play a more prominent role, as things stand currently. However, his signature will not come cheap as Everton will only accept an amount in excess of £80 million in exchange of the player.
It now remains to be seen where Lukaku’s next destination lies as he looks likely to leave Everton when the summer transfer window opens.