MANCHESTER - Manchester United are ready to hijack Romelu Lukaku’s £100million move to Chelsea.
In a sensational development, Sportsmail understands Jose Mourinho is closing in on the biggest move of the summer and a world-record deal, eclipsing Paul Pogba’s £89m return to Old Trafford last year.
Everton striker Lukaku, who scored 26 goals last season, was expected to go back to Stamford Bridge but relations between the two clubs have soured since Chelsea’s failed move to sign John Stones in 2015.
Mourinho was the Chelsea manager who sold Lukaku to the Goodison Park club three years ago but is keen to work again with the Belgian striker.
As Lukaku heads towards Old Trafford, Everton are hopeful of thrashing out a deal to bring Wayne Rooney back to Goodison from United but the two clubs have yet to reach an agreement.
Rooney has moved closer to a return to Merseyside 13 years after leaving for Old Trafford in a £27m transfer after Everton stepped up their interest.
There is a willingness on behalf of Everton, United and the Rooney camp to strike a deal, but it is understood that all three sides will have to compromise.
A number of options are being discussed, including United paying up the remaining two years of Rooney’s contract and allowing him to leave on a free transfer, and a season-long loan which would see the two clubs share his £230,000-a-week wages.
Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford met Bill Kenwright at the Everton chairman’s London offices on Tuesday and further talks are planned in the coming days.
Everton have always been Rooney’s preference ahead of a move to China or America, and he confirmed after United’s win in the Europa League final in May that they were the only club he would play for after leaving Old Trafford.
But until now the finances have proved a significant stumbling block, with Everton only prepared to pay a fee of £10m and wages of £150,000 a week for a 31-year-old player whose stock has fallen significantly in the last 12 months.
They had a loan bid rejected in January but talks have been revived this week after Rooney decided to stay in England following a family holiday in Mykonos mulling over his future.
Everton’s major shareholder Farhad Moshiri and Kenwright see the commercial value in bringing Rooney back to his spiritual home. They also hope he can resurrect his flagging career.
Rooney was again seen at a spin class in Liverpool yesterday as he tries to build up his fitness before United’s players are due to report for pre-season on Saturday. It remains to be seen if he will fly to California on tour with the rest of Mourinho’s squad 24 hours later.
Re-signing Rooney would be another statement of intent by Everton in a summer that has seen then spend £90m on goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, defender Michael Keane, midfielder Davy Klaassen, and forward Sandro Ramirez.
Their also want Swansea City’s Gylfi Sigurdsson and have an interest in Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud.
Meanwhile, United are considering a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl. They are determined to add a holding midfielder to their squad, with Tottenham’s Eric Dier and Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic still the preferred options.