Manchester United have beaten Chelsea to the £75million signing of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
United blindsided Chelsea with their covert move for Lukaku, using their £89m world record signing Paul Pogba to convince the forward to join him at Old Trafford.
Close friends Lukaku and Pogba have been holidaying together on the west coast of America and both are expected to join up with Jose Mourinho’s squad in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Pogba is understood to have played a key role in persuading Lukaku — who will undergo his medical in the US on Thursday night — to abandon a return to Chelsea and instead link up with him and Mourinho at United.
Although Chelsea maintain they are still in the hunt to sign Lukaku, the 24-year-old is set to undergo a medical in the US, with United hopeful of completing the deal in time for him to train with his new team-mates in LA on Monday.
United’s stunning capture of Lukaku is a major blow to Chelsea, who were convinced their former striker was going to return to Stamford Bridge this summer.
But United boss Mourinho and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward have been working on a deak for Lukaku for several months and have all but got it over the line.
Rejected by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku is now the man to revive Man United for the Special One. Lukaku is understood to have been offered a four-year deal with the option for a further 12 months and is set to earn a salary in the region of £200,000-a-week.
United’s successful pursuit of Lukaku has also seen them end their interest in Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, leaving the Spanish giants red-faced.
Madrid refused to budge from their £75m valuation of Morata, believing he was United’s only option to replace the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney, who is returning to Everton.
But United outflanked Real as well as Chelsea, by reaching agreement with Everton on a fee for Lukaku and then pulling the plug on the Morata deal.
Rooney is still set to complete his return to Everton, after 13 years at United. It is understood United waived a transfer fee from Everton for their record scorer in return for a clear run at Lukaku.