Manchester United and Inter have begun negotiations regarding the sale of Romelu Lukaku to the Italian club.
The United striker has made it clear he is hopeful of leaving Old Trafford after being told he will not be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-choice striker in 2019-20, and Inter’s new boss Antonio Conte has made the Belgian his prime target in the summer market.
And while there has been no confirmation from United that talks are underway, a close source has established that a meeting is taking place between representatives of the two clubs in London on Thursday, July 11.
Lukaku began to fall behind Marcus Rashford in the pecking order for the position of lone striker at United around the time of Solskjaer’s appointment as caretaker-manager in place of Jose Mourinho in December 2018, and the Norwegian’s decision to persist with the England star for the most part has seen Lukaku pushed to the edges.
And in Conte he has an admirer who has tried to sign him on multiple occasions previously, first when coach of Juventus in 2014 and then when at Chelsea three years later. However, Lukaku chose to make a permanent switch from Chelsea to Everton first time around and then chose United over Stamford Bridge when Conte made his second approach.
Inter may still have some work on their hands though, since United are not in any rush to sell and the Nerazzurri have to consider potential Financial Fair Play repercussions if they were to break the bank on the Belgium international.
And while there has been some talk of Inter offering players as part-exchange, there is no indication that any of their current saleable assets are of particular interest to United.
But the 26-year-old showed a willingness to leave the Theatre of Dreams for San Siro when speaking to Mediaset recently, stating: “It is good that Conte went to Inter, for me, he is the best coach in the world.
“As for my future, I have already made a decision that I still cannot communicate publicly out of respect for Manchester United with whom I have a contract.
“I am a big Serie A fan, those close to me know that I have always wanted to play in the English league and in the Italian one, I love Italy.
“The club and my agent will talk about it but I have already made my decision.”
Lukaku has scored 42 times in 96 games for United since arriving from Everton in 2017, netting 15 times in 45 appearances last season.