Romelu Lukaku is expected to push for a return to Chelsea this summer, but Everton would prefer to include him in part-exchange for two Manchester United players.
Lukaku first arrived in England when Chelsea paid Anderlecht an initial £10million for his signature in the summer of 2011, but he was given scant opportunities to impress at the capital club. Instead, the Belgian showed he was capable of playing in the Premier League during loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and Everton, the latter of whom took him permanently in 2014.
Now 24-years-old, the forward is regarded as one of the most prolific goalscorers in the country, having hit at least 20 goals in all competitions in each of the past three seasons. Lukaku is now at the age where he is desperate to play in the UEFA Champions League, and as this is something he cannot be offered at Goodison Park, he will likely push for a transfer during the summer window.
A return to Stamford Bridge has long been mooted, whilst Jose Mourinho is also said to be keen on luring him to Old Trafford. Lukaku, who remains under contract at his current club until 2019, has made no secret of his love for Chelsea where he longs to emulate his hero Didier Drogba, and he has now intimated that the wheels are already in motion for a transfer.
“I know what’s happening, but I can’t tell you anything more,” Lukaku said. “The most important thing is: I want to win trophies. We are now talking to the club. I’m looking ahead. What I would like most to play in the Champions League and try to win the Premier League once. Or better: a few times. That would be the most beautiful thing. We’ll see what happens.”
Although the general consensus is that a return to Chelsea is the most likely outcome, The Independent claim the Toffees would rather do business with United. This is nothing personal against the champions, but Ronald Koeman likes the idea of including goalkeeper Sergio Romero and Chris Smalling, both of whom have uncertain futures in Manchester, as part of the deal.
Mourinho would likely be willing to consider such a deal, as it has become well known over the past few days that an out-and-out striker is a top priority for next season. If Lukaku declines a switch across the North West and digs his heels in for a return to London, Everton could demand a world record £100million for the player, although Chelsea would hope to get him for around £80million.