Chelsea are closing in on their own Paul Pogba after Marina Granovskaia negotiations

Tuchel coy when quizzed on Chelsea's Lukaku links

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When Manchester United signed Paul Pogba back in 2016, the footballing world were rocked. Here was a player they’d had on their books years ago, returning for a gargantuan fee. And now, after Marina Granovskaia made a breakthrough in negotiations with Inter Milan, Chelsea are set to do the same with Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea had originally intended to sign Erling Haaland this summer.

Both Thomas Tuchel and Roman Abramovich were in agreement over the Borussia Dortmund striker, believing he’d be a huge hit with the Blues.

But, now, they’re primed to land Lukaku instead.

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Chelsea have reportedly made a breakthrough in talks to land the Belgium international, with Italian media saying the deal is already agreed.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano said the same, too, meaning Lukaku is now primed to become Chelsea’s first – and most substantial – signing of the transfer window.

And, with the move poised to go ahead, it certainly has echoes of United’s signing of Pogba from Juventus back in the summer transfer window of 2016.

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In 2012, United wanted Pogba to stay.

Sir Alex Ferguson rated the midfielder highly, believing he had the potential to be one of the best players on the planet.

The problem was, however, that Pogba wanted to play. Not just cameos here or there, but he wanted guaranteed first-team football.

United, at that time, weren’t able to give him that.

They still had Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick pulling the strings in the middle of the park, while also having several other options at their disposal.

And when Ferguson failed to grant Pogba his wish, he decided to turn his back on United and join Juventus on a free transfer instead – leaving them reeling in the process.

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He later said: “It was a very difficult decision for me, with the manager as well and everything with the contract.

“It wasn’t the contract but more like the trust with the manager.

“Obviously, the manager, for me, is still the best manager in history. When they asked me to sign the contract, if I didn’t sign, a lot of things happened. I didn’t train, I went back to training by myself and stuff like this.

“It made me a bit angry and was nothing about the money.

“It’s just about you’re a player, we believe in you, you believe in you and, me, I just want to play football.

“That is all I want. I want to play. When I had, like I’ve said before, the chance to play or to come on in this game against Blackburn, that’s when really I had heartbreak.

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“There was no midfield here – people were injured, [Paul] Scholes wasn’t there, I think he’d retired already and it was before he came back. Rafael played in midfield with Ji-sung Park and I didn’t come on in this game. We lost the game.

“I was on the bench warming up and I thought I would come on and it was a big opportunity for me.

“I didn’t and things happen. The manager has a choice in everything but that day is when I had my heart broken.”

Then, in 2016, United decided to bite the bullet and swallow their pride.

They opted to spend £89million on Pogba, making him the world’s most-expensive player and a focal point of Jose Mourinho’s team at the time.

And Lukaku is now set to become Chelsea’s own version of the France international.

He initially joined the Blues from Anderlecht back in the summer transfer window of 2011, where he’d compete with Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka for a starting berth.

But, after 15 appearances, he then proceeded to join Everton for a fee of £28m – a club record.

Chelsea, now, are set to lose millions after reportedly agreeing to pay Inter Milan a fee of £98m – making him their record signing.

Pogba, at United, has blown hot and cold.

But Chelsea will be hoping Lukaku can fare differently, especially now he’ll be charged with the task of firing Tuchel’s team to Premier League glory.

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