Lukaku Set To Leave
Mandzukic To Replace Him?
Manchester United have agreed a fee of €83 million (£76.5 million) with Inter Milan for the transfer of Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgium international striker arrived in Milan at around midnight last night local time (11pm BST) where he was greeted by hundreds of fans. He will undergo a medical at 10.30 this morning.
The news follows a day of activity in which Inter made a fresh bid for the 26-year-old in the afternoon which was verbally accepted by United.
The deal sees Inter paying an initial €65 million (£59.9 million). A further €10 million (£9.2 million) is payable in performance-related add-ons and bonuses and Inter will have to pay the Red Devils up to €8 million (£7.3 million) if and when Lukaku is sold on by the Serie A club.
The move brings Lukaku’s unhappy two seasons at Manchester United to a close. He managed 42 goals in 96 appearances in all competitions but that scoring record wasn’t what United paid Everton £75 million for (plus at least £10 million in bonuses). Lukaku was also criticised for not being effective against the bigger clubs.
The Belgian’s exit has led to speculation over a deadline-day signing for Manchester United. Lukaku had been linked with a move to Juventus as part of a deal that would have brought Paulo Dybala to Old Trafford. Lukaku’s transfer to Inter appears to have completely ended that move once and for all.
However, reports that Manchester United are willing to pay the £82 million release fee of Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams ought to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Spanish TV programme El Chiringuito suggests a deal is quite close. But while United have been offered the 25-year-old a deal isn’t necessarily on the cards.
The Spaniard isn’t necessarily a like-for-like replacement for Lukaku. For one thing his scoring record isn’t as good as the Belgian’s with just 48 goals in 204 first-team appearances for the La Liga side. But Williams’ pace is his biggest plus point. He ran 60 metres in eight seconds to score against Sevilla in January.
United have also been offered former Spurs striker Fernando Llorente – currently a free agent. But watch out for a surprise move for Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic. Talks are expected to take place today over the transfer of the 33-year-old Croatian. This follows reports at the weekend that a £15 million deal has already been agreed.