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José Mourinho asks Manchester United to gazump Chelsea for Romelu Lukaku — report

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Swansea City v Everton - Premier League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

In 2013, taking a potshot at Chelsea’s outgoing interim boss, José Mourinho declared that being reduced to winning the Europa League would be a “big disappointment” for him. That’s not his competition, he boasted ... and it wasn’t, until he called Manchester United’s Europa League semifinal second leg on Thursday the most important match in their history.

Life comes at you fast sometimes.

In 2014, José Mourinho convinced the Chelsea Board that selling Romelu Lukaku is not only the proper way forward, but that there’s no way we’d ever want him back because he won’t ever be that good, so why would we insert a buy-back (or even a sell-on) clause and receive a smaller fee?

Oops.

Now, as Chelsea work to undo that £28m transfer for at least twice if not three times as much — provided Diego Costa is on his way out and Álvaro Morata is liking Chelsea players’ Instagrams just because he’s bored — José Mourinho has changed his tune in this regard as well.

According to the Guardian, the former Chelsea boss has asked his current club to prioritise a move for the Premier League’s leading goalscorer in the summer. Though Zlatan Ibrahimović's knee injury might have pushed Lukaku to the top of Mourinho's summer wishlist, the report claims that Mourinho wanted to work with the 23-year-old striker even before that, envisioning him as the next "focal point" of his team's attack, like Ibrahimović had been this season or Diego Costa was during his tenure at Chelsea.

Although Lukaku has only two years left on his Everton contract and has refused to sign a new one, the Toffees are expected to demand a transfer fee of at least £60m, but possibly up to £100m for him. Should Chelsea and Manchester United descend into a bidding war, a figure much closer to the latter could become reality.