Senior Everton sources insist no deal has been reached or fee agreed for the sale of striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United.
However, sources at Everton maintain no deal or agreement has been reached.
All summer former club Chelsea appeared to be the front-runners for Lukaku’s signature but it is understood United have been quietly pursuing him old for months and he is said to have been the club’s main target, with interest from Stamford Bridge helping cover that up.
It is understood United have ended their interest in Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata as they progress a move for Lukaku, with the club hoping to get a deal over the line before heading to the United States on their pre-season tour.
United captain Wayne Rooney looks increasingly unlikely to be on the plane this Sunday, with a return to boyhood club Everton edging closer – a move that is not understood to be connected to the Lukaku interest.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic having already left Old Trafford this summer however, the signing of Lukaku – if the deal ultimately gets completed – would presumably ease the way for Rooney to leave.
The 31-year-old’s future has been the subject of considerable speculation in recent months, with reports linking him with moves to the United States and China.
But a return to Goodison Park has always seemed a strong possibility too, and it would appear that does appeal hugely to the former England captain.
Rooney left Everton at the age of 18 in a £30million deal in 2004. He has since been one of United’s most influential players and overtook Sir Bobby Charlton to become the club’s record goalscorer last season.
He has also won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his time at Old Trafford.
But aside from breaking Charlton’s record in January, last season was a frustrating one.
Rooney was unable to command a regular starting place in Mourinho’s side and started just 15 Premier League games.
He is contracted until 2019 but it has been reported a deal could be reached allowing him to return to Everton, where he first burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old, on a free transfer.
His signing would also continue a busy summer of transfer activity at Everton.
The club have already spent over £90m on Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez, Jordan Pickford, Henry Onyekuru and Nathangelo Markelo, with Olivier Giroud and Gylfi Sigurdsson also linked.
The departure of Lukaku would still leave a sizeable hole, however. The Belgian, who joined the club permanently from Chelsea for £28million three years ago after a successful loan, scored 25 Premier League goals last season.