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Chelsea match Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku bid

Uh oh. United have renewed competition for the Everton striker.

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Arsenal v Everton - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

It’s been a wild couple of days on RomWatch 2017 (trademark pending). Seemingly out of the blue, Manchester United had agreed a fee for the Everton striker - though those reports were tampered by leaks from the Toffees’ camp - and even scheduled a medical. Now, with the finality of that deal so far unclear, Chelsea appear to have re-entered the race by matching United’s bid.

It appears that the transfer of £75million player coveted by two of the richest clubs in Europe will not be so straightforward after all. Who would have thought?

According to various reports, Chelsea have made a matching offer to Everton, but are unwilling to match the agent fees to Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola. Chelsea remain convinced that the player prefers a return to Stamford Bridge, and now believe that the decision rests in the player’s hands.

That Chelsea would wait to be outbid by a rival for a player that they have been publicly courting for over a year before making an acceptable offer is somewhat embarrassing for the London club. Furthermore, the idea that the club which outspent United by 32% on agent fees last year would balk at Raiola’s demands for their primary transfer target is curious, to say the least.

This new bid could well just be a face-saving exercise on Chelsea’s behalf, while firmly placing the blame on the convenient target of those greedy agents. But if Lukaku does prefer a return to his former club, it is highly unlikely that Chelsea would let a few million quid in fees get in the way of sealing the deal.