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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly made Everton forward Romelu Lukaku his primary summer transfer target, with the Red Devils said to be willing to include captain Wayne Rooney in any deal.
According to Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail, Mourinho wants to strengthen his attack with two strikers this summer and has identified Lukaku as one. However, it’s suggested the Toffees are holding out for a whopping £100 million before they decide to sell the Premier League’s top goalscorer.
In the piece, it’s also noted United are not willing to part with that type of money and will seek to use Rooney as a makeweight.
“Everton are reluctant to offer more than £10 million for Rooney, who will have to take a £100,000-per-week pay cut if he returns to his boyhood club,” Wheeler reported. “Rooney accepts he will leave United this summer despite claiming earlier this week that he wants to continue at Old Trafford.”
Lukaku has enjoyed a fine campaign for Everton, netting 24 goals and grabbing six assists for the Toffees in the Premier League. Per Het Laatste Nieuws‘ Kristof Terreur, the 24-year-old has an incredible goalscoring record:
Kristof Terreur 📰 @HLNinEngeland
Romelu Lukaku turns 24 today. 🎁🎉. His career so far, international games included:
⏱ 372 games
⚽️ 164 goals
5/13/2017, 8:02:32 AM
And while there are areas in his game—most notably in terms of holdup play and work rate—that leave a lot to be desired, Lukaku has proved himself to be a difference-maker at the highest level.
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The Belgium international is deadly inside the penalty area. In a blue shirt this season, the striker has scored many different types of goals. In the Premier League, it’s difficult to think of a more natural goalscorer than the Everton man.
For a United team that has drawn far too many games this season, Lukaku is the type of player who would give them an edge. Bleacher Report’s Rob Blanchette believes as much:
Rob B. @_Rob_B
Griezmann and Lukaku are well within our capability of getting. If we add goal-scorers, we’re not far from changing draws into wins. #MUFC
4/13/2017, 9:38:13 PM
Getting him away from Everton may be challenging, though, especially if the Toffees stand by their £100 million valuation.
However, Rooney “is determined to go on his own terms and will not accept being a makeweight—unless the deal is right,” according to Wheeler. It’s also noted the 31-year-old may be able to pick up a more lucrative salary if he takes up an option from Major League Soccer or the Chinese Super League.
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The man himself recently suggested he is keen to stay at Old Trafford for a while yet despite the speculation surrounding his future:
B/R Football @brfootball
Wayne Rooney isn’t giving up on his Manchester United career just yet 👊 https://t.co/fCOPU216M0
5/10/2017, 6:01:36 PM
United’s interest in Lukaku makes sense given the goalscoring woes they’ve had this season. But for Everton, bringing in Rooney doesn’t.
The England international may have ties to his boyhood club, and perhaps a move back to Goodison Park would reignite a career that has stalled. But based on recent performances, it’s difficult to see where the 31-year-old fits into this Everton team, especially if the Toffees strengthen this summer.
Lukaku may not be worth £100 million to United, but his goals make him worth that much to Everton, as he’d be so difficult to replace. It means the Red Devils may be looking at paying a world-record transfer fee for the second consecutive summer if they want to snap up the striker.