Romelu Lukaku is a priority target for Inter Milan this summer, with Antonio Conte demanding that the hierarchy sign the Belgian international. The Telegraph reported earlier this month that Manchester United had turned down a £54 million bid for the striker. It is unlikely that the Serie A club will be deterred and this saga is likely to drag on until the end of the transfer window.
The focus has been on incomings for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but he has seen one or two of his senior players linked with a move away. Lukaku has firm interest from Italy, while Paul Pogba has been linked with a move to Real Madrid. Although they don’t need to sell either player, it would provide a healthy injection into their own transfer kitty. The legendary club would like to add at least two players before the window closes. Out of the two, it would make more sense to let Lukaku leave Old Trafford.
Last season, Lukaku managed 12 goals at a strike rate of one every 177.5 minutes. This is slightly better than a goal every other game, a good return for any frontman. However, it was clear that he wasn’t going to be the undisputed first-choice under Solskjaer. His last goal came at the beginning of March and he was in and out of the team throughout the Norwegian’s reign. Marcus Rashford emerged as the preferred choice of the new manager and his recent new contract shows that he is likely to be the regular starter upfront.
It has been a strange couple of years for Lukaku at Old Trafford. This was supposed to be the career move that allowed the powerful forward to fulfil his undoubted potential. There have been positive moments, but he has ran hot and cold, without ever announcing himself as a key player for the team. In fact, his goal record was better in his final two seasons at Everton.
The failures haven’t been entirely due to Lukaku. The role he was asked to play under Jose Mourinho didn’t get the best out of him. He wasn’t regularly asked to do the hard running and this stunted him in attack. It is a thankless task to play upfront in a Mourinho team and at times, the Belgian looked laboured, an image that didn’t help his reputation.
At the age of 26, the next couple of years are crucial to the development of Lukaku. He has the physical attributes to dominate and a move to Serie A could help him do that, especially working under a coach like Antonio Conte. The Italian has long been a fan of the striker and he would likely build the team around the Manchester United man. Inter can also offer Champions League football.
If Solskjaer doesn’t see a regular starting role for Lukaku. He should sell the player. Rashford is capable of playing a more prominent role, while Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James can all offer competition. Further to this, it would create funds for United to do further business. This could even include an attacking player more suited to the way Solskjaer wants to play.
It wouldn’t be a disaster if Manchester United chose to sell Lukaku. In fact, it could be the right decision.