Romelu Lukaku has given the clearest indication yet that he wants to leave Manchester United this summer, with the Belgium striker reluctant to play a back-up role to Marcus Rashford next season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the United manager, has made it clear that Rashford is his first choice centre-forward and Lukaku, now 26, is wary of reduced playing time as he enters what he believes will be the peak years of his career.
Antonio Conte, the newly appointed Inter Milan coach, is determined to take Lukaku to Italy having missed out on the Belgium striker in 2017 when he opted to join United over Chelsea.
The pair share an agent, Federico Pastorello, and hope a deal can be reached although United are unprepared to lose Lukaku cheaply and would want to recoup their £80 million investment in order to sanction a sale. Everton are also due an additional £5 million windfall if the player is sold this summer.
Lukaku has never entirely won over United supporters but he remains a proven goalscorer and scored twice in Belgium’s 3-0 win over Scotland on Tuesday to take his tally to 25 goals in his last 21 international appearances. The Belgium supporters unfurled banners in honour of Lukaku that read: “26 years old … already a legend”.