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Manchester United: In defence of Romelu Lukaku

Inter could face some competition in the race to sign Romelu Lukaku, who wants to leave Manchester United this summer, as reported by The Sun.

The print edition of Italian media outlet Corriere dello Sport [via Sport Witness] reported that Juventus have informed Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward of their interest in the Belgium striker.

The same publication had also said [via Sport Witness] that Inter were close to agreeing a deal for the 26-year-old, while new Inter coach Antonio Conte had unsuccessfully tried to sign Lukaku for Chelsea back in 2017.

However, Juventus’ signal of interest in the player could prompt a transfer tug of war between the two Serie A clubs for Lukaku’s signature.

Last season, Lukaku was the subject of fierce criticism from former Manchester United players such as Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand, while his tally of 15 goals was significantly lower than the 27 he managed in the previous campaign.

However, he was still the club’s second highest scorer in 2018/19, just one behind Paul Pogba. Also, in the two seasons in which he has been at Old Trafford, his total of 42 goals is far higher than any of his team-mates – Marcus Rashford is the next most prolific with 26 goals since 2017 and even that was one fewer than Lukaku’s tally for 2017/18 alone.

If Manchester United decide to let him go this summer, they should not do so without testing the resolve of either Juventus or Inter for one of their main strikers in exchange.

Like Lukaku, Paulo Dybala had a subdued 2018/19 after excelling in the previous campaign. His tally of 10 goals from 39 Serie A and Champions League games for Juventus last season was far from exceptional, but he hit 26 goals in total in 2017/18, only one fewer than Lukaku that season.

Over in Milan, Mauro Icardi has been even more prolific for Inter. The Argentina striker scored 17 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions last season and, similar to Lukaku and Dybala, his 2017/18 tally was higher again, with 29 goals in 36 games trumping the Manchester United and Juventus hitmen.

Also, Icardi is not wanted by Inter, with Corriere dello Sport reporting that Conte is preparing to tell the striker that he is not in the manager’s plans for next season. Relations between Icardi and Inter have been strained since his refusal to play in a Europa League match in February after being stripped of the captaincy in light of derogatory comments made by his wife on TV about Inter players and management.

Lukaku has been too prolific for Manchester United to let him leave easily. If they can sweeten the deal with Inter by agreeing to take Icardi in exchange, they would then have an instant replacement with an even better scoring record than the man whose place he would take.

Manchester United fans, do you think a swap deal involving Lukaku and Icardi or Dybala would be a good idea? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

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Manchester United: In defence of Romelu Lukaku
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