Romelu Lukaku Transfer Reportedly Verbally Agreed to by Manchester United, Inter

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2019

Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku during the English FA Cup third round soccer match between Manchester United and Reading at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Romelu Lukaku is reportedly close to leaving Manchester United for Inter Milan after the two clubs reached a "verbal agreement" over a transfer on Wednesday:

Gianluca Di Marzio @DiMarzio

Verbal agreement between @ManUtd and @Inter for @RomeluLukaku9 @SkySportsPL @SkySportsNews

Earlier in the day, the Serie A club was credited with having made an "improved bid," per Simon Stone of BBC Sport. He reported how "Lukaku's agent, Federico Pastorello, flew to London on Wednesday in an attempt to resolve his future."

And later in the evening, Pastorello took to Instagram (h/t Goal) to say "Ready to take off .... direction Milan !!! Inter ... we are coming."

Upon landing in Milan, the Belgian received a lively reception from waiting fans:

Gerry Cox @GerryCox

Welcome to Milan, Romelu Lukaku https://t.co/dZDOuwoucW

It seems the talks could reach fruition after things had looked to be at a standstill ever since United knocked back an offer worth £53.9 million in July.

Internazionale's renewed efforts have resulted in offering "an initial £64.7 million plus a further £5.3 million in add-ons," according to the Guardian's Fabrizio Romano.

Lukaku hasn't given up on leaving Old Trafford, with the striker opting to train with his first club, Belgian side Anderlecht, in recent days:

Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 @HLNinEngeland

A man training with Anderlecht while he’s waiting for a move. One of those unexpected twists and turns. #mufc @hlnsport https://t.co/SP4KFGmYYO

Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 @HLNinEngeland

Day 2 of a transfer soap: Romelu Lukaku is still training with Anderlecht today. With Man United refusing to comment. 👉🏼 https://t.co/eXr2HmWnvd #mufc https://t.co/6veq9kO2iP

The decision to train away from United has prompted a fine, while the Belgium international has also incurred the wrath of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after he tweeted the running speeds posted by team-mates during a recent training session, per Mike McGrath of The Sun.

Lukaku moving to Italy has become a theme of United's summer. The 26-year-old was thought to be bound for Serie A champion Juventus, with Paulo Dybala going the other way, only for the deal to collapse because United believed the latter didn't fancy the move, according to James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph.

It's proved good news for Inter, with last year's fourth-placed Serie A club rarely wavering in their desire to bring Lukaku to Milan. Manager Antonio Conte has previously shown interest in the powerhouse more than once:

Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 @HLNinEngeland

If Romelu Lukaku ends up at Inter, he will work under a manager that wants him badly and tried to sign him twice before (Juve 2014, Chelsea 2017). Inter know what to do - up the fee. United are still keen on offloading him. #mufc https://t.co/D8CHV8GYLz

Cashing in on Lukaku makes some sense for the Red Devils, who are otherwise well stocked along the forward line. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and 17-year-old Mason Greenwood offer pace, versatility and coolness in front of goal.

Yet no member of this trio combines technique with physical power the way Lukaku can. The former Chelsea and Everton frontman has been a prolific source of goals throughout his career in England's top flight:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Romelu Lukaku in the Premier League: Head: • 23 goals Right foot: Left foot: • 31 goals • 57 goals The 𝙤𝙣𝙡𝙮 player to score 20+ goals with each since he made his competition debut. https://t.co/RcRUlnUk8b

Goals haven't been a problem, but consistency has generally eluded Lukaku since he arrived at United from Goodison Park in a deal worth £75 million in 2017. Solskjaer is trying to build a fitter, hungrier squad and has put his faith in different options.

Even so, letting Lukaku leave would raise questions about whether the Red Devils have enough firepower to secure a top-four Premier League finish and return to the UEFA Champions League. Aside from Rashford and Martial, big-earning flop Alexis Sanchez remains on the books, but the former Arsenal man has struggled more than Lukaku to settle in the red half of Manchester.

United, who finished sixth in the league last season, wouldn't have another natural target man to act as the focal point up top. It has some already looking toward Lukaku-style alternatives:

James Robson @jamesrobsonES

A big day for Lukaku. His agent in London to secure his departure. His position looks untenable at United. Mandzukic provides some sort of replacement if that deal can be resurrected #MUFC

Solskjaer would have to move quickly though ahead of the Premier League's summer transfer window slamming shut at noon BST Thursday.