Man United beat Chelsea to the signing of Lukaku in the 2017 summer transfer window, when the then-Everton hit-man seemed poised to return to Stamford Bridge.
But Lukaku has now said that a phone call from Mourinho in New York convinced him to join the Red Devils over the UEFA Europa League champions.
» “I was gone, I was going to Chelsea,” the Belgium international said on the LightHarted podcast.
» “I was looking for an apartment, an apartment for my mum to stay in close to the practice facility, so I don’t have to drive too far. And then Man U came.
» “At Man U everybody was… I felt the trust more, where everybody wanted me to be there and that’s the true story. People say ‘Yeah, my agent (Mino Raiola)’ and stuff like that – my former agent at the time – he did his job, he got the best opportunity for me, but the people wanted me the most and that was Man U. Everybody was wanting me. There was no doubting.
» “They came and they told me – I was in New York – I get a phone call from this number and I’m like, ‘Who’s this?’ Pick up, Jose Mourinho. ‘Rom, how are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, what’s up, boss?’
» “‘I’m gonna get you back, we’re gonna pay £75m plus £15m in bonuses (add-ons) by next week, so I expect you in LA. So go and do your s**t in LA and I’ll see you after [in pre-season]’. I felt the dude was lying, like ‘I’ll see you’.
» “Then the next thing I know, I wake up and had to go back to Everton on the July 7 and July 6, I wake up in the morning and I see they’ve agreed on the deal, so I’m like, ‘Man! They came in hard!’
» “I spoke with Ed Woodward as well, he’s like the GM (general manager), we had a good conversation, we spoke twice, I think – and in that conversation, I could feel his trust. While Chelsea it was the coach. Antonio Conte wanted me bad, like bad bad, he wanted me when he was at Juventus in 2013. We have a really good relationship, we have the same agent. His playing style, he needed me for his team.
» “So he showed me an analysis of the game, how he wanted to play, so for him, he won three Italian championships, he did a three-peat before he took the challenge up and one of the three-peats were unbeaten.
» “So I was going to Chelsea and then Man U came through and when I felt the trust of everybody at Man U. And the stature and magnitude of the team, I felt like, ‘You know what? It’s too good an opportunity for me, everybody believes in me, it’s a good team, why not?’”