Manchester United believe they have no chance of signing Everton star Romelu Lukaku in the current transfer window but are preparing to test their resolve with a £40million bid in the summer, according to the Daily Mirror.
The report states that Lukaku has been placed on a shortlist littered with football's biggest names and he is likely to be targeted as part of another busy summer at Old Trafford.
Indeed, Ed Woodward's priority will once again be to sign one of the game's few truly world-class stars with Real Madrid's Gareth Bale the top target. However, while Bale would represent a luxury addition, Manchester United's results so far this season have suggested a quality striker is essential.
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Last summer, few strikers of genuine quality were available on the market. Lukaku had endured a mediocre season at Everton, scoring just ten goals in the Premier League.
Now, however, the 22-year-old has emerged as one of the deadliest hitmen in the country, bagging 15 goals already and is currently leading the race for the Golden Boot alongside Jamie Vardy.
Unsurprisingly, he has caught the attention of the Red Devils, who have failed to score in nine games already this season. Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney have both flattered to deceive in recent times and the club are widely expected to invest heavily in a striker with a proven track record.
Everton have already proved themselves able of keeping hold of their best players, digging their heels in over Chelsea's aggressive pursuit of John Stones in the summer. They would be prepared to do the same with Lukaku this month, but could struggle to keep him once the season concludes.
Lukaku looks hungry for Champions League football and it looks unlikely that Everton will be able to provide it. Of course, there is no guarantee that Manchester United will finish in the top four either, but they will certainly be able to offer him a bigger prospect of playing in Europe's elite competition in the future.