Manchester United have agreed terms with Inter Milan for Romelu Lukaku, allowing their AWOL striker to complete an acrimonious exit from Old Trafford.
United have yet to confirm the deal but it’s understood they accepted an improved offer in the region of £72million, including £12m in bonuses, after a day of negotiations involving Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorello in London.
The 26-year-old Belgium international flew to Italy on Wednesday night to undergo a medical in Milan on Thursday. He was pictured with his agent on a private jet, Pastorello writing on Instagram: ‘Ready to take off …. direction Milano’.
It follows Lukaku’s attempts to force a move this week by training for two days with his old club Anderlecht in Brussels without United’s permission.
The player ignored the Premier League club’s demands to return and he has been fined two weeks’ wages – approximately £400,000 – for his actions.
Lukaku had also been ordered to train with United’s Under-23s by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after upsetting his manager by posting confidential sprint stats on his Twitter account last week.
However, he failed to show up at Carrington for the second day in a row on Wednesday, and was nowhere to be seen at Anderlecht’s Neerpede complex where he has been training with the club’s Under-18 squad. There was also no sign of the player’s black Bentley at his house nearby.
Although the Italian transfer window doesn’t close until September 2, there was an acceptance on all sides that a move to Inter needed to be completed as soon as possible following the breakdown of Lukaku’s relationship with United.
He was unhappy over the club’s refusal to accept an opening offer of £54m from Inter last month, while a proposed swap deal with Juventus for Paulo Dybala collapsed last week.
United have been trying to recoup the £75m it cost to sign Lukaku from Everton two years ago, mindful that they will now have to pay the Merseyside club a £5m bonus as part of the deal.
Lukaku has missed most of pre-season and all six of United’s warm-up games with a mystery ankle injury that has coincided with his attempts to secure a move to Italy.
After initially indicating that they would replace him, United accept that is unlikely to happen before Thursday’s 5pm Premier League deadline.
It’s still feasible they could revive talks over a £10m move for Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic or consider free agent Fernando Llorente.
However, negotiations over a move for Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen have broken down, and United have distanced themselves from reports of a move for Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams.
After spending close to £150m on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James this summer, United insist they are comfortable going into the new season with their existing squad. Solskjaer’s side kick off the new season at home to Chelsea on Sunday.
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