Romelu Lukaku’s absence from Manchester United’s pre-season team to play Leeds is the beginning of a process that will see him leave Old Trafford, According to Sky Sports News.
Paul Pogba was named in the starting line-up for United’s second pre-season game in Australia, a day after head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he still wants to build a squad around the midfielder.
But while David De Gea and Luke Shaw were also missing from Solskjaer’s team to face Leeds, it is believed only Romelu Lukaku’s absence is the signal of an impending exit.
Shaw sustained a hamstring injury in the victory over Perth and was not risked to play against Leeds.
Solskjaer told MUTV that David De Gea was not in his team selection due to illness, while Romelu Lukaku was “not ready”.
Manchester United are increasingly confident of De Gea signing a new long-term contract and Solskjaer said it is a matter of “if and when” a deal is agreed with the Spaniard.
But Lukaku’s omission comes at a time when Inter Milan expected to make a new bid of £60m plus bonuses for the forward this week.
The offer, which Inter hope would be structured over two or three years, is for a permanent move with bonuses done to help the Serie A side get closer to United’s valuation.
Last week, United told Inter Milan sporting director Piero Ausilio that they want more than the £79m they paid to Everton for the Belgium international in 2017.
The new bid is an improvement on Inter’s initial two-year loan deal with instalments of £9m, £27m and £27m to be paid to United in consecutive years.
When asked if Lukaku would be happy with United if a deal fails to go through, Solskjaer said: “The day we start the league, I’m sure everyone who’s here will give absolutely everything for Manchester United.”
Solskjaer has promised to replace the 26-year-old should he leave Old Trafford this summer window.
“If we sell players we will have to replace them,” he said.
“There’s never any maximum [number of signings] because there are players here that are coming into pre-season as well that are, ‘I might just have a look at him again because if he has changed as I think he has and it looks like, he might have a career here’.”