Manchester United believe they have agreed a stunning £75million deal for Romelu Lukaku.
The striker is set to have a medical in Los Angeles, where he is on holiday with United’s record signing Paul Pogba, who has the same agent as the 24-year-old Belgium international.
The completion of the move — sensationally revealed by Sportsmail — is being held up by Everton, who are angry that their star forward failed to turn up for pre-season training on Thursday. Everton boss Ronald Koeman was said to be fuming.
Lukaku, who is set to sign a five-year contract worth more than £200,000 a week in the next 48 hours, intends to link up with Jose Mourinho and his United squad when they fly to LA on Sunday for a pre-season tour.
It is understood that Pogba has been influential in Lukaku turning his back on a return to Chelsea three years after leaving Stamford Bridge for Everton in a £28m deal.
So too has been agent Mino Raiola, who earned a staggering £40m cut from Pogba’s £89m move from Juventus a year ago, and is set to pocket another big commission from his latest client to follow Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sergio Romero to Old Trafford.
However, when Lukaku failed to arrive for pre-season work at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground on Thursday morning, Koeman’s anger escalated as repeated calls to Lukaku were not returned.
Insiders at Old Trafford on Thursday confirmed Sportsmail’s exclusive that United had snatched Lukaku from under the noses of the Premier League champions, and insisted a £75m transfer fee had been agreed between the clubs for United’s top summer target, who scored 26 goals for Everton last season.
United are so confident the deal is done that they have called off their pursuit of Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata. Lukaku, who will be the second biggest signing in United’s history, has been earmarked as a direct replacement for Ibrahimovic, with Mourinho needing a big target man to lead the attack.
The Lukaku deal is not dependent on whether Wayne Rooney moves in the opposite direction and returns to Goodison Park 13 years after leaving there to join United. Rooney will be allowed to return on a free transfer.
That deal is expected to happen soon, with the 31-year-old ready to accept a drop in wages to return to his first club. If he remains at United he will earn £300,000 a week this season while Everton are looking to pay him no more than £160,000 a week.
Mourinho still wants another four players — a forward, a wide man, a defensive midfielder and a full back — which would take United’s spending past the £200m mark this summer.