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Chelsea have matched Manchester United’s offer of about £75m for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
Senior United sources told the BBC on Thursday that they had made a bid for the 24-year-old Belgium international.
Premier League champions Chelsea have now made a move to re-sign Lukaku, who played for the Blues before moving to Everton for £28m in July 2014.
However, they are not willing to match the fees Lukaku’s agent Mino Raiola will earn if the forward joins United.
United, managed by former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, have been chasing Lukaku for most of the summer.
Mourinho’s side are hopeful of concluding a deal in time for Lukaku to join the squad before they depart for a pre-season tour to the United States on Sunday.
The striker was on a list of forward options Mourinho gave to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward before the end of last season.
It had been thought Lukaku would return to his former club Chelsea, who he joined from Anderlecht in 2011.
The striker was sold to Everton for £28m by Mourinho during the Portuguese manager’s second spell in charge of Chelsea in 2014.
Lukaku is a client of agent Raiola, who also looks after Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – three players all signed by United last summer.
The Belgian turned down the most lucrative contract offer in Everton’s history in March and later said: “I don’t want to stay at the same level. I want to improve and I know where I want to do that.”
Lukaku in stats
- With a double against Hull City in March, Lukaku became the first Everton player since Gary Lineker in 1985-86 to hit 20 league goals in a season.
- Lukaku is also only the fourth player to score more than 80 goals in the Premier League before turning 24 (also Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney).
- He has also scored more goals than any other Everton player in Premier League history (68).
- Lukaku is one of only three players to have scored more than 10 goals in each of the last five Premier League seasons (alongside Olivier Giroud and Sergio Aguero).
More to follow.
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