5 players Manchester United stole from under their rivals’ noses following £75m capture of Romelu Lukaku

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5 players Manchester United stole from under their rivals' noses following £75m capture of Romelu Lukaku

Jose Mourinho has beaten off competition from his former club to clinch the biggest deal of the summer so far – but this is not the first time United have beaten their close rivals

Love them or hate them, you have to admit there must be something irresistible about Manchester United .

Romelu Lukaku is just the latest star name to have his head turned by a last-minute approach from Old Trafford.

Down the years a succession of United managers have let their rivals do the bidding, and the talking, before performing a smash and grab raid on some of Europe’s top talents.

Here are a few of the successful United raids (in chronological order).

Ian Storey-Moore (1972, £225,000 from Nottingham Forest).

Ian Storey-Moore (1972, £225,000 from Nottingham Forest).
Brian Clough could not believe his luck when United won the race to sign Ian Storey-Moore (Image: Mirrorpix)

Brian Clough was the Derby boss who thought he had pulled off a transfer coup when he agreed the deal with arch-rivals Forest for their goal-scoring winger. Storey-Moore was even presented to the fans pre-match at the Baseball Ground.

But the transfer documents had not been completed and United manager Frank O’Farrell struck.

United poached the England international out of Clough’s clutches.

Lou Macari (1973, £200,000 from Celtic).

Lou Macari (1973, £200,000 from Celtic).
Lou Macari was expected to join Liverpool but United matched their offer and won the race to sign him (Image: Bob Thomas Sports Photography)

Bill Shankly had identified the Celtic star as part of his Liverpool rebuilding plans. The deal was agreed and Macari sat in the Anfield directors box the night before he was due to undergo a medical next day. Who was sitting next to Macari at the match? United assistant-manager Pat Crerand.

Crerand asked Macari: “What are you doing here?” When he heard why Crerand immediately called Old Trafford boss Tommy Docherty. United matched the Liverpool offer and next day whisked Macari to Manchester to sign. He spent 11 years as a United kingpin.

Gordon Strachan (1984, £500,000 from Aberdeen)

Gordon Strachan (1984, £500,000 from Aberdeen)
Gordon Strachan had signed a pre-contract agreement with Cologne but still joined Manchester United (Image: Daily Mirror)

Aberdeen boss Alex Ferguson was furious to discover Strachan had signed a pre-contract agreement with German club Cologne. Life became even tougher for the flame-haired midfielder when he discovered he could move to Old Trafford.

Strachan had to extricate himself from his agreement to move to Germany. He was helped by United paying Cologne £75,000 in compensation.

Ron Atkinson was the United boss who completed the Strachan coup. Two years later Big Ron was sacked and replaced by Fergie, the boss Strachan had annoyed so much in their latter days at Pittodrie.

In 1989 Strachan was sold by Ferguson to Leeds.

Roy Keane (1993, £3.75m from Nottingham Forest)

Roy Keane (1993, £3.75m from Nottingham Forest)
Roy Keane was set to join Blackburn but had his head turned by United and joined for a British record deal at that time (Image: Allsport/Getty Images)

After Forest’s relegation the inspirational Republic of Ireland star agreed to join Blackburn Rovers. He shook hands on the deal with boss Kenny Dalglish but with the Ewood Park offices closed for the weekend Dalglish accepted they would have to reconvene on the Monday to complete the deal. Enter Alax Ferguson.

Fergie called Keane, invited him for a secret meeting with assistant-boss Brian Kidd and the player’s head was successfully turned. Keane signed for United in a then British record deal and spent 12 years at Old Trafford.

Romelu Lukaku (2017, £75m from Everton)

Romelu Lukaku (2017, £75m from Everton)
Manchester United rolled out the red carpet in the US for their new arrival (Image: @ManUtd /Twitter)

Chelsea appeared the strong favourites to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge as Antonio Conte looks to find the ideal replacement for Diego Costa who appears to be heading out of the exit door.

The Premier League champions seemed the odds-on favourites to sign the Belgium forward, but former boss Jose Mourinho had other ideas and made his move to sign the prolific forward.

With United being back in the Champions League and the chance to play under Mourinho once again, that was enough to persuade Lukaku to pledge his long-term future to the Reds.

Credits: Mirror

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