Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is eager to beat former club Chelsea to the transfer of Romelu Lukaku as he eyes a replacement for the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Swedish forward’s Old Trafford career looks to be over amid reports that he’s suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury that could keep him out for as much as nine months.
Ibrahimovic fell awkwardly at the end of normal time as United eventually beat Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final on Thursday night, and may have played his last game for the club.
According to the Daily Star, this has led Mourinho to make the in-form Lukaku his priority target in that crucial striker role for the upcoming summer transfer window.
The Belgium international, who is currently the Premier League’s leading scorer with 24 goals, has been most strongly linked with a return to his previous club Chelsea in recent times.
However, United are also long-time admirers of his and Mourinho will now instruct the Red Devils hierarchy to step up their pursuit of the prolific 23-year-old.
Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann and Tottenham front-man Harry Kane are also in the Mourinho’s thinking, though the United boss apparently rates Lukaku as the most realistic target.
Ibrahimovic is United’s top scorer this season with 26 goals and his absence will be a big blow in the run-in for a top four place, as well as for the Europa League semi-final ties against Celta Vigo.
The 35-year-old signed a one-year contract when he joined from Paris Saint-Germain last summer and had been linked with LA Galaxy amid rumours that he would not take up the option of a second year.