Manchester United player Romelu Lukaku leaves to complete Inter Milan transfer
Lukaku‘s agent Federico Pastorello flew into London on Wednesday to meet Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and head of corprorate development Matt Judge to try and capitalise on the early domestic window closure. On Wednesday evening, Pastorello uploaded a photo of himself and Lukaku on a private jet bound for Milan.
Pastorello wrote: “Ready to take off …. direction Milano.” United accepted a bid that could rise up to £73.9million for Lukaku, 26, around 24 hours before the Premier League transfer window closes at 5pm on Thursday. Lukaku will become Inter’s most expensive signing.
United were holding out for £80m to sell Lukaku but his disruptive behaviour over the last week effectively forced their hand and Inter capitalised with the timing of their second bid. It is possible United will not sign a replacement.
Lukaku effectively torched his relationship with United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by posting running statistics from a training session on Twitter last week after he was omitted from the squad to face AC Milan in Cardiff. Solskjaer rebuked Lukaku and told him to train with the Under-23s upon the first-team’s return to training on Tuesday.
Ironically, Lukaku was supposedly intent on remaining respectful towards United amid his saga, yet his antagonistic social media activity and failure to report for training has turned United supporters against him.
Lukaku, previously represented by Mino Raiola, switched agents last season and was linked with a move to Italy in October but had no intention of leaving United under Jose Mourinho. Lukaku was chosen to address the media at the pre-match player’s press conference for the visit of Juventus 10 months ago with the intention of quashing speculation surrounding a possible move to Serie A.
However, Solskjaer only started Lukaku in 15 out of his 29 games in charge and the Belgian no longer felt ‘important’ at United. Lukaku is believed to have resented the preferential treatment certain teammates received under Solskjaer and fell out with Paul Pogba over his split from Raiola.
Although a move to Juventus collapsed last week, Inter were always Lukaku‘s preferred choice of destination after they announced the appointment of Antonio Conte in May. Conte attempted to bring Lukaku to Juventus in 2014 and Chelsea in 2017.
The £75m Lukaku enjoyed a decent first season with United, scoring 27 goals, but he tallied just 15 last term and admitted he had not shed enough muscle mass for the domestic campaign.
The departure of Lukaku will leave the number nine – occupied by Anthony Martial in 2015-16 – vacant.