Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has insisted that he was not directly involved in a deal which saw Romelu Lukaku arrive at Old Trafford this summer.
The Belgium footballer was officially signed earlier in the week after United paid up an initial £75m to pursue his services from Everton.
Lukaku bagged 25 goals in the English top-flight last season, and he would have been named the Golden Boot winner, had Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane not come with a flurry of goals in the final weeks of the campaign.
A reunion between Lukaku and Mourinho had looked far-fetched for the past couple of months, but the Red Devils managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations after executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward sealed the deal with the Merseyside outfit.
“The reason why he was so important and difficult to get is what he did in the Premier League because obviously there are other good strikers in football but the Premier League is a very specific habitat, a different habitat, normally they need some time to adapt and Lukaku plays in Premier League for the last four or five seasons,” Mourinho told reporters.
“I didn’t negotiate, it was Mr Woodward who negotiated with Romelu, his agent and the Everton board, the only thing I did was to call him when the situation was almost there just to guarantee him that he would be an important player in my team.”
Although the duo had a strained relationship at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho appears to suggest that the pair were in contact even during his period at Everton, and he is confident that the Belgian will produce the goods under his management next season.
Lukaku had envisaged his desire to play for a Champions League based club, and the chance to join Manchester United was too good to ignore despite the impending interest from former club Chelsea. The Belgian is also a close friend with United’s Paul Pogba, and the Frenchman also played his part in luring Lukaku to United.