Manchester United have not given up on beating Chelsea to the signing of Romelu Lukaku and could hold an ace in transfer negotiations.
The Red Devils are understood to be in talks with the Goodison Park outfit over a potential move for former Toffees striker Wayne Rooney.
United manager Jose Mourinho is privately prepared to let his captain leave this summer while Ronald Koeman has made no secret of his desire to sign Rooney.
According to The Times, discussions between the two clubs have also included a chat about the future of free-scoring forward Lukaku.
Rooney, who is due to report for pre-season training later this week, could prove a handy bargaining tool for the Red Devils if they pursue the Belgian.
Lukaku is keen to leave in search of Champions League football and United will play in Europe’s premier cup competition after winning the Europa League.
Chelsea have been linked with a £100million deal for the player in the past few months but have yet to agree a fee with Everton.
Blues manager Antonio Conte has already informed Diego Costa his services are no longer required at Stamford Bridge as he frees up room in his forward line.
However, the club have so far been unable to offload the Brazilian-born Spain international after suitors Atletico Madrid were hit with a transfer ban.
Costa now appears to be a real problem for the champions as he is no hurry to choose his next destination.
Reports this morning suggest the fiery frontman is exacting a bit of revenge on Conte for his treatment after being told of his impending departure by text.
He has been posting regular updates from his holiday on Instagram, including some thrill-seeking adventures on a quad bike through muddy fields.
The hot-headed star could now be handing United and his old boss Mourinho the advantage in the Lukaku race by biding his time over his next move.