Manchester United appear to have stolen Romelu Lukaku from under the noses of Chelsea, with the Everton star now nearing a £75 million move to Old Trafford.
Reports broke on Thursday morning that the Belgian, who had looked likeliest to move back to re-join the Blues earlier this week, had agreed a move north to work under Jose Mourinho.
The Red Devils had mostly been linked with wantaway Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata earlier but they now seem to have dropped that interest in favour of Lukaku.
And the likelihood of a move now appears likely as Mourinho moves ever closer to landing his man, several bookmakers suspending betting on the 24-year-old’s next club.
Paddy Power offer Lukaku at a handsome 5/1 (6.0) to be crowned Premier League top scorer next term as United chase the top-notch striker they have been missing for so long.
The Toffees star was in the lead for the 2016-17 Golden Boot for much of the season, and was only denied by Harry Kane after the England international’s stunning late surge in form.
However, chances of denying him the accolade much longer are slim if he moves to United particularly given the level of quality supplying him the ammunition from deeper, as he looks to make the next step in his career.
Lukaku will be supported by fellow clients of agent Mino Raiola, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, as Mourinho looks to build a winning cycle and compete on the fronts of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
The Belgian forward will slot into the hole left behind by Zlatan Ibrahimovic perfectly, with the boss surely relishing the prospect of working with what must represent his ideal image of a striker to lead the line.
Kane still leads the betting to defend his Golden Boot at 11/4 (3.75) on Paddy Power, even if the Tottenham talisman must surely be looking over his shoulder ever more worried at the competition.
Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are also in the running at 5/1 (6.0) and 7/1 (8.0) respectively, while Diego Costa is priced at 11/2 (6.50) to supply the goals - even if his future at Chelsea is looking very doubtful.
And it is in this manner that United have stolen a huge march on the champions by signing the player they formerly let go, with Lukaku looking ready to lead the line and guaranteeing plenty of goals at Old Trafford for years to come.