Saturday 3 December 2016

Manchester United linked with swoop for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku

Published 28/07/2015 | 08:46

Moving on? Could Romelu Lukaku be joining Manchester United
Moving on? Could Romelu Lukaku be joining Manchester United

Bookmakers have slashed the odds on Everton striker Romelu Lukaku joining Manchester United this summer.

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Lukaku only joined Everton last season, but, according to The Metro, Louis van Gaal is keen on bringing the Belgium centre-forward to Old Trafford.

Sky Bet have slashed odds from 6/1 to 7/4 on the move actually happening following a cryptic Instagram post by Memphis Depay that has sparked speculation that a deal for Lukaku is on the cards.

United, meanwhile, are moving ever closer to signing Barcelona star Pedro and taking their summer spending through the £100 million barrier, reports The Mirror.

We are told United chief Ed Woodward flew back out to the US for talks with Pedro's agent ahead of Saturday night's friendly with Barcelona in San Jose, which Van Gaal's men won 3-1, and United are now ready to meet the Spaniard's £22 million release clause.

However, in a late twist, Spanish newspaper Marca claims Barca manager Luis Enrique is against the move.

Uefa sanctions that prohibit Barcelona from signing new players until next year mean the squad will be weakened until January, and Enrique doesn't want to lose a player currently key to his plans.

Van Gaal has identified Pedro as the man to replace Angel di Maria, who is poised to join Paris St Germain in a deal worth around £52 million.

The Sun reports that the deal is almost done, and quotes PSG boss Laurent Blanc as saying: "In the Di Maria case, the whole thing is close to being over. I'm positive about it."

Should United's move for Pedro ultimately fall through, The Metro says Van Gaal has already lined up three alternatives - Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid, PSG's Lucas Moura and Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus.

United have been dealt a bitter blow in their pursuit of Sergio Ramos, with the Spain defender set to sign a new contract with Real Madrid, sources close to the club have revealed.

And, according to The Daily Mail, Real remain relaxed about holding out another year for David de Gea if Ramos's failure to go to United means that the Premier League club refuse to negotiate over the departure of the Spanish goalkeeper.

Barcelona star Pedro
Barcelona star Pedro

Real know that De Gea will join them next summer when his contract at United runs out and are relaxed about starting the season with goalkeepers Kiko Casilla and Keylor Navas

United still want to sign Argentine centre-half Nicolas Otamendi but do not want to meet the £36 million asking price, although the player is managed by Jorge Mendes, with whom United have good relations.

And finally, Marcos Rojo is set to be fined two weeks' wages after the Argentine failed to join up with the United squad on their pre-season tour of North America.

The defender was due to link up with his team-mates in the United States on Saturday night but was not allowed to board the flight because of passport issues.

The Mail says Rojo is now set to be £140,000 out of pocket for his error, which left Van Gaal fuming as the club continue their preparations for start of the Premier League season on Aug 8.

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