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Who got it wrong by announcing Lukaku's Man Utd 'deal' early?

Lukaku likely to end up at Manchester United
Lukaku likely to end up at Manchester United

At just after 10am on Thursday morning, the breaking news that Manchester United had agreed a £75m deal to sign Everton striker Romelu Lukaku rippled around the football world - only for the retractions denying the story to follow just an hour later.

It was one of the more bizarre 60 minutes of what is set to be a dramatic summer of transfer trading in the Premier League, with the questions left hanging ahead of a final decision on where Lukaku will go yet to be made.

Did Manchester United insiders make a mistake by informing the media that they had reached an agreement with Everton before a deal had been struck?

And what should be make of the strong and clear message from a senior Everton official defiantly insisting to sundayworld.com that his club had yet to agree to the transfer of their star striker and talks were still ongoing?

Social media caught fire as Lukaku became the hottest topic on Twitter, yet this tale offered a snap shot of the kind of challenges those breaking the news face in an era of the game when press offices rarely leak stories to outside media sources.

In truth, the journalists who broke this story were merely reporting on the facts that appeared to have been presented to them by Old Trafford insiders, who regularly brief select journalists when the time is right to release information.

United clearly believe they are on the brink of signing Lukaku and there is even talk that the striker will undergo a medical with the Old Trafford club in America imminently, yet Everton remain convinced Chelsea could yet launch a rival bid.

In many ways, Everton were encouraging Chelsea to up the stakes and raise the price tag on Lukaku by rivaling United's £75m offer for the Belgian striker, in the knowledge that he has long harboured a dream to move back to the club he left in the summer of 2014.

However, the source that informed this website that no deal was in place for the player also believes the striker is more than likely to move to United, with his exit set to be confirmed imminently.

Everton have been expecting a deal to be struck with Chelsea throughout this summer and their glut of summer signings such as keeper Jordan Pickford, Ajax captain Davy Klaassen and Burnley's Michael Keane arrived in the knowledge that money from the sale of Lukaku would be arriving sooner rather than later.

Lukaku's preference to join Chelsea was made clear to Everton officials earlier this year, yet his agent Mino Raiola's close working relationship with United and their transfer guru Ed Woodward appears to have been crucial in swinging the deal in United's favour.

After a dramatic day of conflicting reports, Lukaku will start next season as a Manchester United player unless Chelsea match the £75m offer and the player insists on a move to Chelsea.

Neither of those scenarios are likely to come to pass, but it's fair to say the next time we see breaking news on this transfer story will be when we all know for sure Lukaku has made what will be the move of the summer.