Everton have denied accepting a £75m bid from Manchester United for striker Romelu Lukaku and insist suggestions the deal is close are premature. Reports were abound on Thursday (6 July) morning claiming Jose Mourinho's side had brokered a deal for the Belgium international who is destined to leave Goodison Park this summer.
The move also saw the Europa League winners drop their interest in signing Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata. However, Talksport understand that the Toffees have not agreed the sale of their record Premier League goalscorer and are under no pressure to sell despite spending nearly £100m in the summer transfer window.
Mourinho is desperate to add a striker to his squad after releasing Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the end of the season and wants his squad strengthened before United leave for the first leg of their pre-season tour in the United States this weekend.
Wayne Rooney is expected to leave Old Trafford this summer and return to Merseyside, leaving the club with a dearth of attacking options.
Chelsea had been considered the frontrunners to re-sign Lukaku, who netted 25 goals in the top flight last season. Mourinho sold the ex-Anderlecht hitman during his second spell at Stamford Bridge but seemingly now regards Lukaku as the man to lead his attack next season.
The news that United have not agreed terms with Everton and Lukaku means a deal for Morata could yet be reignited. IBTimes UK had understood a deal to sign the Spain international was due to be completed this week but the development regarding Lukaku leaves the move up in the air.
Should Lukaku indeed complete a move to United then Morata would appear a likely option for champions Chelsea, whose manager Antonio Conte wants a new striker ahead of Diego Costa's imminent departure. The Blues would however be settling for their second choice signing having made Lukaku their number one target this summer.
News that Lukaku is United bound comes amid reports England captain Rooney will return to Everton in a loan deal which the 20-time English league champions will part-finance. The Mirror believe that with Everton unable to afford his £250-000-a-week wages United will pay half until the end of his contract in 2018.
Whether that deal is now in jeopardy also remains to be seen but nevertheless Rooney is not expected to travel to the USA this week and has potentially played his final game for United, where he has spent the last 13 years during which he has become their all-time record goalscorer and won 16 major honours.