Inter Milan’s sporting director Piero Ausilio has confirmed that the club have made an official approach to Manchester United for striker Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian has been heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford this summer after losing his place at the forefront of United’s attack last season. Antonio Conte has made Lukaku his priority in the summer window as he looks to overhaul his attack following his arrival at the San Siro.
Inter are desperate to get a deal done amid interest from Juventus and Napoli and sent Ausilio to meet with United chief Ed Woodward in his London office earlier than planned to begin negotiations. He returned to Milan on Thursday night and, on his arrival back in Italy, revealed the clubs have started to discuss a deal. ‘We had a meeting with Manchester United for Lukaku,’ he told Sky Sport Italia.
‘It was an official approach between two important clubs. We’ll see what happens. Conte wants every player we’re trying to sign.’ It was claimed by Sky Sports Italia on Wednesday night that Inter were going to offer a two-year loan deal with an obligation to buy Lukaku at the end of it for €70m (£63m). The Red Devils are expected to cash in on Lukaku if they can recoup the £75million they paid Everton for him in 2017 but Inter are someway off that figure at present and want a deal done for less.
Former Chelsea manager Conte is planning to show both Mauro Icardi and Radja Nainggolan the door this summer, and will need a replacement for Icardi in particular.
The Italian wanted both Lukaku and Roma’s Edin Dzeko signed by now, but both remain just targets. United even turned down both Icardi and Nainggolan in part-exchange deals for the Belgian striker.
Earlier this week Ole Gunnar Solskjaer urged Lukaku to stay at Manchester United for another season and reject a move to Italy.
It is claimed the pair spoke before they flew out to Perth for the start of United’s pre-season tour and Solskjaer hinted there will be chances for him to play regularly, despite Marcus Rashford recently signing a new deal.