With Mason Greenwood having staked his claim for more game time following his excellent performance against Leeds in a pre-season friendly yesterday, the doubts over Romelu Lukaku’s future will only increase.
The Belgian was absent due to a knock for the game but he could still play a part in some of the remaining friendlies. As a professional footballer, you’d expect the 26-year-old to continue to perform to the best of his abilities like Paul Pogba has done so far.
Yet, Inter Milan have certainly made their intentions clear about their interest in Lukaku. Unlike Real Madrid and Juventus in the Pogba standoff, Antonio Conte’s side have publicly made it known they are after the United striker.
The forward is certainly closer to the exit door than his teammate is, but the biggest question mark has been over whether Inter actually have the funds to complete a deal.
A two-year loan move with an obligation to purchase is rumoured to have been put on the table, but United are said to be demanding that the Serie A side pay the £75m they want upfront, with no strings attached.
As Italy’s transfer window closes at the start of September, not on August 8th like in England, these talks could drag on way into the start of the new season.
With Inter likely trying to find a compromise and to lower the amount they have to pay, I think United need to make a quick decision over the next few weeks.
If Solskjaer sees him as an integral part of the first-team setup, talks should be ended pretty quickly. Lukaku may be unhappy with that decision in the short term, but as we saw with David De Gea and his failed move to Real Madrid, refocusing on the job at hand is possible.
Alternatively, if the United boss feels the likes of Rashford and Greenwood are able to take the burden upfront without Lukaku, it may well be best for the club to cut their losses, and agree an initial loan deal instead.
If the player doesn’t want to stay, and he isn’t being picked to play, and negotiations continue all the way to September 2nd, by which time United would have played four league fixtures, it doesn’t help the club whatsoever. It is, therefore, extremely important that there is decisive action here from Solskjaer.