Romelu Lukaku has yet to feature for Manchester United in preseason and speculating regarding his future at Old Trafford will continue to swirl.
The Belgian star was left out of United’s 26-man squad for their trip to Norway to play Kristiansund on Tuesday, and there was no reason given for his absence on the club website.
Lukaku, 26, has been linked with moves to Italian giants Juventus and Inter Milan throughout the summer and it appears the end-game is near.
Reports suggest that Juve will offer Paulo Dybala for Lukaku, while Inter have been negotiating with United for some time but the Red Devils are said to want over $90 million for their Belgian striker and Antonio Conte‘s side are yet to offer anywhere near that.
An extra caveat to all of this is that Lukaku traveled with United to Australia and China for their lengthy preseason tour but didn’t play a single second due to a minor injury.
He could often be seen training on his own or working out on an excercise bike in the gym, as his future remains up in the air.
Do United need him?
Given his penchant as a proven goalscorer, you always need those around. But given the fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants young, speedy strikers and he has a lot of them, Lukaku’s skillset makes him surplus to requirements right off the bat.
We saw him chucked out wide at times during the second half of last season and although he caused problems in that role, he never looked comfortable. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and youngsters Dan James and Mason Greenwood looked more natural fits for United’s new high-octane playing style.
Lukaku has talked about his love for Serie A on multiple occasions and it appears his time in the Premier League is about to come to an end.
When we look back on his United career, 42 goals in 96 appearances isn’t a bad record at all. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
His hold-up play didn’t improve much, neither did his record against the top six clubs, and the lack of service he received — especially in the opening months of Jose Mourinho’s final season in charge — saw him frustrated so when chances did arrive he snatched at them.
Along with Paul Pogba, Lukaku always seemed to be under pressure at United and it seems close to the mark to say both have been too inconsistent over the past few seasons.
Here is United’s squad in full for the trop to Norway
David De Gea, Lee Grant, Joel Pereira, Sergio Romero; Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Axel Tuanzebe, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Ashley Young; Fred, Angel Gomes, Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Paul Pogba; Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford.