Football

Everton insist no deal reached

Senior Everton sources insist no deal has been reached or fee agreed for the sale of striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United.

News that a £75-million (S$134m) transfer had been agreed for the 24-year-old Belgium striker broke yesterday.

However, sources at Everton maintain no deal or agreement has been reached.

But both the BBC and Press Association reported that the deal was all but done for the 24-year-old Lukaku, who will be reunited with Jose Mourinho, who sold him to Everton in 2014 for £28m when the Portuguese coach was in his second spell as Chelsea manager.

Everton had offered the former Anderlecht star the most lucrative contract in the club's history after he scored 25 Premier League goals last season, but he turned it down, saying he wanted to move on to another level.

This alerted several clubs to his availability with Chelsea initially the favourites but Mourinho - who enjoys excellent relations with his agent Mino Raiola - looks to have snatched him from under Antonio Conte's nose.

The Belgium international has been pursued quietly for months and is said to have been the club's main target, with Chelsea's interest helping to cover that up.

Press Association Sport understands United have ended their interest in Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata as a move for Lukaku edges closer, with the club hoping to get a deal over the line before heading to the United States on their pre-season tour.

Statistics showed that Lukaku is exactly what United need to mount a serious title challenge next season.

Shockingly, United were ranked 17th in conversion rate among all the 20 Premier League clubs last season.

Mourinho's side scored 59 goals from 209 shots, a conversion rate of just 13 per cent.

Statistics also showed that Lukaku scored 25 goals from 110 shots, a conversion rate of 22.7 per cent. That was better than former United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who netted 17 goals from 115 shots, a disappointing conversion rate of just 14.8 per cent. - WIRE SERVICES