Saturday 16 February 2019

Dilemma for Lukaku as Chelsea match United's £75m offer

Romelu Lukaku: £75m decision. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire.
Romelu Lukaku: £75m decision. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire.

Matt Law and Daniel McDonnell

Chelsea have matched Manchester United's £75m bid for Romelu Lukaku in a bid to wrestle him back to Stamford Bridge.

However, the Premier League champions will not match the agent fees Mino Raiola will get from Lukaku moving to United, leaving the striker with a tough decision to make.

Lukaku must now decide whether to go ahead with the move to United that had been set up by Raiola or effectively go against his agent to rejoin Chelsea.

The Belgian international is due to undergo a medical with United today with a view to joining them on their USA tour tomorrow.

If they land Lukaku, United will switch their attention to Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has refused to put a price on Dier's head, but it is believed Spurs would listen to an offer in the region of £50m for their England international.

Should they fail to convince Levy to sell Dier, United will target Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl.

Jon Walters, meanwhile, has completed his move to Burnley from Stoke to bring the Irish contingent in Sean Dyche's squad up to five.

Walters (33) has signed a two-year deal, with the option of a third, after pushing for the move to go through because of the extra contract security.

He will join up with the Burnley squad on Monday ahead of their friendly with Shamrock Rovers next Friday.

Walters joined Stoke from Ipswich in 2010 and went on to strike 62 goals in 269 appearances for the Potters.

He is the club's top scorer in their Premier League history, and struck double figures in four of his seven full seasons there.

The Irish contingent at the Stoke will dwindle further if Glenn Whelan - another long-serving player - completes a move to the Championship in the coming weeks, with Aston Villa and Derby County both considering making a bid for the Dubliner.

Stephen Ireland is the only other senior Irish player on the books at Stoke, with Shay Given having left on a free at the beginning of the summer.

Cyrus Christie completed a medical yesterday ahead of his move from Derby to Championship rivals Middlesbrough for a fee understood to be more than £2m, with add-ons to follow.

Christie had only a year left on his contract at Derby and it was clear his future there was uncertain when he spoke in May about how manager Gary Rowett preferred a different type of player in his position.

The attack-minded defender is highly rated by new Boro boss Garry Monk.

Elsewhere, Nacer Chadli was left behind as West Bromwich Albion flew out to Austria after refusing to take part in Tony Pulis' gruelling pre-season fitness routine, which includes 5am starts and back-to-back jogs up Austrian hills.

After talks with Pulis, which were heated but ended amicably, the Belgium international - the club's £13m record signing - was permitted to stay at home and undertake his own fitness programme.

Arsenal have confirmed that German defender Per Mertesacker is to take over as academy manager in a year's time.

The 32-year-old World Cup winner, who joined from Werder Bremen in August 2011, will continue to be part of the first-team squad for the coming season "while developing his knowledge and understanding of the Academy".

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