Romelu Lukaku has returned early to preseason training with Manchester United in a bid to impress manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in case a move to Inter Milan does not materialise, sources have told ESPN FC.
The striker is open to linking up with Antonio Conte at Inter because of fears he may be second choice behind Marcus Rashford at Old Trafford next season.
However, sources have told ESPN FC that Lukaku will not try to force a transfer and reported back to Carrington on Monday — three days before his scheduled arrival on Thursday — to prove he is ready to be part of Solskjaer’s plans for the new campaign if a deal with Inter cannot be agreed.
Sources have told ESPN FC the Serie A side are yet to lodge a formal bid and that a loan offer with an obligation to buy after two years is likely to be rejected. United are holding out for around £80 million for the 26-year-old, who has scored 42 goals in 96 games since joining from Everton in 2017.
Lukaku’s season finished on June 11 after Belgium’s 3-0 win over Scotland in their Euro 2020 qualifier. He was granted to leave until Thursday but, after beginning training during his holiday in Los Angeles, returned to Carrington on Monday for fitness assessments and tests.
Sources have told ESPN FC he will hold talks with Solskjaer about his future before the squad fly to Australia for the first leg of the summer tour on July 7. Paul Pogba, who has said he would like a “new challenge” amid interest from Juventus and Real Madrid, was not at training on Monday after Solskjaer and assistant Mike Phelan put players on different schedules.
Alexis Sanchez was also absent as he continues his Copa America campaign with Chile. They play Peru in the semifinals on Thursday.
Along with Lukaku, Scott McTominay, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Juan Mata, Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic were all at Carrington on Monday to begin preparations for the new season.