Everton striker Romelu Lukaku has all-but confirmed that he wants to leave the Toffees this summer, stating that competing for the Premier League title and playing in the Champions League are his objectives next season.
These comments will be of real interest to Manchester United, who are one of a host of European heavyweights to be linked with the Belgium international.
With the Red Devils looking for a new number nine, Lukaku has stated that he has ambitions loftier than what can be offered at Goodison Park.
“I don’t want to stay at the same level. I want to improve and I know where I want to do that,” the Everton striker said, according to BBC Sport.
“We are now talking to the club. I know what’s happening, but I will leave the talks to my agent.
“I know what’s happening, but I can’t tell you anything more.
“What I would like most is to play in the Champions League and try to win the Premier League once. Or better – a few times.”
United are expected to sign at least one high-profile attacking player this summer and Lukaku has been repeatedly linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho’s men had issues in the final third last season, with veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic carrying most of the goalscoring responsibilities for the Red Devils.
As such, a player than can net 20+ Premier League strikes in a campaign would be a real shot in the arm for a United side keen to fight for major silverware next term.
Lukaku certainly fits the bill.
The Everton centre forward scored 25 Premier League goals last season and has hit the back of the net consistently in English football when given a chance to play.
Lukaku would add power and pace to the United attack, while his clinical edge would also make Mourinho’s side a more-rounded and more-dangerous proposition.
While Everton are set to hold the 24-year-old’s suitors to ransom this summer, the hefty transfer fee would be worth it to bring the powerful striker to Old Trafford.
Although Ibrahimovic still represents an excellent option to lead the Red Devils’ line, the club needs to think about a successor to the Swede and Lukaku should be that man.
Given his current ability, age, potential and skill-set, the Belgian could well spearhead an era of success at Old Trafford and make United one of the most potent offensive teams in England again.
Lukaku’s comments also suggest that Mourinho’s men could be a team he wants to join – given that he wants to play Champions League football for an English team.
A return to Chelsea could be on the cards but the Blues have Diego Costa and look likely to keep him.
Tottenham don’t have the financial clout to sign Lukaku, Everton won’t sell to Liverpool and Manchester City don’t need him.
Given that Mourinho froze Lukaku out at Chelsea and did not give him a chance, there would need to be some mending of that personal relationship – but signing the Everton man could well be the piece of business that gets United back into the Premier League title mix.