In Focus: Chelsea close on Lukaku as striker rejects Man United move

According to reports in The Independent, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is ready to reject Manchester United in favour of moving back to Chelsea this summer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Belgium international wants to leave the Toffees this summer in order to play Champions League football and compete for trophies, and he has so far refused to sign the new five-year contract – one that would make him the highest paid player in the club’s history – that he has been offered.

Even though Ronald Koeman will be desperate to keep hold of his star striker, a move away from Goodison Park is looking more and more likely with the 24-year-old said to be keen on a move to Stamford Bridge despite the Red Devils also registering their interest.

Chelsea have been heavily linked with their former man in recent weeks, but it was unsure whether they would be willing to pay the £100m fee the Merseyside outfit are said to be demanding for a player that scored 25 Premier League goals this term.

Is a deal likely to happen?

The Belgian’s comments on Monday suggest that a move away is close, but it is still unclear which team Lukaku could be close to joining.

According to a report on BBC Football, the striker said: “I don’t want to stay at the same level. I want to improve and I know where I want to do that.

“We are now talking to the club. I know what’s happening, but I will leave the talks to my agent.

“What I would like most is to play in the Champions League and try to win the Premier League once. Or better – a few times.”

Chelsea would prefer to pay nearer to £80m for the attacker while Everton would prefer to do a deal with United as they are interested in the likes of Red Devils duo Chris Smalling and Sergio Romero.

Should he join Chelsea over United?

Having sold him to Everton in 2014 after barely being given an opportunity at Stamford Bridge, you wouldn’t think that Lukaku would be so keen to return.

However, he has a point to prove and will be able to see that he can be the first choice striker for the Blues for many years to come with Diego Costa’s long-term future unlikely to be in west London.

What’s the verdict, then?

Well, whichever team Lukaku decides to join will be making a huge statement as he has shown he guarantees goals in the Premier League over the course of the last five seasons, but agreeing a transfer fee with Everton could prove to be a sticking point.