Europe went to bed with Chelsea still in with a minor chance of re-gazumping Manchester United for Romelu Lukaku, but by the time they all woke up, United had already announced an agreement over the fee with Everton. While the medical and personal terms are yet to be finalized, they are largely assumed to be nothing more than formalities at this point.
Assuming medical and personal terms are a formality, Lukaku will be an excellent signing for Manchester United.— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) July 8, 2017
Meanwhile, Chelsea are left looking homeless and useless and most importantly, strikerless, a late scramble to match United’s cash bid proving little more than a PR exercise. Chelsea were adamant about not paying Lukaku’s agent as much as United — these are assumed to be arrangements beyond the FA-mandated and controlled agents fees — and Chelsea were also unable to sweeten the deal with a free Wayne Rooney in return. All told, United’s financial commitment just for the transfer fee is likely to end up north of £100m. (Which does make Lukaku a fair bit more expensive than either Morata or Belotti.)
Chelsea + Conte will be gutted to miss out on Lukaku but they believe the Raiola and, to a lesser extent, Rooney factors have been pivotal— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) July 8, 2017
Breakdown - £75m cash, £15m add-ons, Rooney (£10m). £100m transfer.— Jim White (@JimWhite) July 8, 2017
But most crucial of all appears to be Lukaku’s personal decision to choose Manchester United after tempting and teasing Chelsea for the past month if not longer. We now feel how Everton fans surely feel, who were promised a signature on a contract extension last summer and then again in the winter only for Lukaku to change his mind six months later.
The kid’s certainly got priors in this regard and it’s perhaps why it’s fitting that there are now reports emerging, such as this one in the Times, about Conte’s and Chelsea’s disappointment at Lukaku’s coup. Perhaps if Chelsea would’ve moved a bit faster, this of course wouldn’t have happened — there’s plenty of blame to go around, as in most situations.
Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola is the biggest boogeyman, and is taking the brunt of the blame for turning his client’s head to get a better payday for himself rather than his client. Or perhaps Lukaku’s love for Chelsea wasn’t that strong or that limitless, endless, timeless.
Told Lukaku has decision to make - financial one to suit Raiola's agenda, or sporting one to realise personal desire to return to Chelsea— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) July 7, 2017
The Times’ report adds that Conte does have some personal feelings of betrayal as well, having apparently talked on “several occasions this summer” with Lukaku who led the coach to believe that he was set on coming back to the Bridge. Conte could very well blame the Board here, too, and perhaps he does at least to a certain extent, but the Times reassures that there is peace between the powers that be at Chelsea.
And so the post-mortem continues and we await official confirmation.
P.S.: On a hilarious side-note, it turns out Lukaku was issued a citation by LA police for disturbing the peace after they were called out six (6!) times last Sunday to his rental house in Beverly Hills where he has been hanging out with Paul Pogba. The TMZ headline says it’s an arrest, but he was not taking into custody, just issued a citation. Luckily for him, United’s pre-season camp is in LA, so he can take care of that ticket as well.