London: The Romelu Lukaku transfer saga took another twist on Tuesday with the Manchester United striker spending a second successive day with Anderlecht as he pushes for a move from Old Trafford.
Inter Milan are the frontrunners to sign Lukaku after the collapse of a proposed swap deal with Juventus striker Paulo Dybala, but it remains to be seen if the Italian club can get near United’s pounds 80 million-plus valuation.
Sources in Milan have suggested Lukaku’s agent, Federico Pastorello, will present a new offer to United in London but that seems unlikely to exceed pounds 65 million, even if it would represent a significant increase on the pounds 54 million bid that Inter had rejected last month.
Juventus are not thought to have given up hope of signing Lukaku, despite United backing away from a swap with Dybala over the Argentine’s wage demands and agents’ fees.
Lukaku has been left increasingly frustrated, with his future in limbo, and the sight of the Belgium striker training with Anderlecht for a second day has served only to add to the confusion. United’s explanation for Lukaku being at his former club’s training base near Brussels on Monday was that the player, like his teammates, was on a day off but it was indicated that he was expected to report back in at Carrington yesterday.
However, Lukaku remained in Belgium and was again pictured training at the Neerpede complex with Mo Ouahbi, the Anderlecht youth-team coach. United have refused to comment when asked if Lukaku had permission to be in Belgium on either day. Lukaku’s representatives were also refusing to comment.
Lukaku has missed all six of United’s pre-season games, with his absence put down to an ankle injury, but the apparent problem has not prevented him from training with Anderlecht’s under-18s.
Relations between Lukaku and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have become increasingly strained.
- The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2019