The odds of Manchester United signing Everton striker Romelu Lukaku this summer have been slashed in half by leading bookmaker William Hill after Memphis Depay posted a picture of himself alongside the Belgium international on Instagram.
This is according to the London Evening Standard, who claim the odds on Lukaku joining the Red Devils have plummeted from 10/1 to 5/1 within the space of a few hours.
SkyBet, meanwhile, are offering just 4/1 on Lukaku replacing Robin van Persie at Old Trafford before the transfer window closes on September 1.
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Some Manchester United fans are starting to believe Lukaku could be the “surprise striker” that Louis van Gaal referred to earlier this month following Depay’s most-recent Instagram post.
The Dutch winger posted a photo of himself alongside Lukaku, with the caption: “Me and @romelulukakubolingoli10 in an conversation. See you soon B”
List of strikers who could join United
It was the “see you soon” bit which has worked some United fans into a frenzy today - and this has prompted several bookmakers to reduce the price on the transfer happening this summer.
The report adds that Juventus striker Fernando Llorente is still the striker most likely to arrive at Old Trafford this summer - the Spaniard is priced at 5/2 - but Lukaku is the joint-second favourite alongside Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani and Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
Llorente, 30, makes sense because he might be content playing second-fiddle to Wayne Rooney.
However, the other three strikers are likely to be less inclined to spend time sitting on the Manchester United bench during the Red Devils’ most important matches.
Furthermore, Cavani, Kane and Lukaku would all command astronomical transfer fees.
Cavani, Kane or Lukaku unlikely to arrive
PSG are not looking to sell Cavani, who is regarded as the natural replacement for the ageing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Tottenham have no interest in selling Kane who could potentially cost in excess of £50 million to sign.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy knows precisely how difficult it is to replace a reliable goalscorer - as he discovered after offloading Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a world-record fee in the summer of 2013 - and is not about to make the same mistake with boyhood Tottenham fan Kane.
Lukaku, who scored 20 goals in all competitions for Everton last season, would cost slightly less than Cavani and Kane - but not by that much, potentially.
Everton paid Chelsea £28 million - a club-record fee - to sign Lukaku last summer and have no interest in selling the powerful Belgian before the start of the summer - regardless of how much money Manchester United might be prepared to offer.
Manchester United fans: is Romelu Lukaku good enough for Manchester United? Do you think he’ll sign for the Red Devils? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!