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Conte calls Lukaku an “important” part of his plans at Inter

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So much for diplomacy. Antonio Conte is downright recruiting Romelu Lukaku to join him at Inter Milan, and he’s doing it through the press for all to hear.

[ MORE: Pochettino might have left if Spurs won Champions League ]

The rumors linking Lukaku with a move away from Manchester United have been swirling all summer, but as of yet the two clubs haven’t been past the “bid(s) made and rejected” portion of proceedings. As such, Conte is prepared to go a step further in courting the 26-year-old Belgian, stating his longstanding admiration and calling him “an important players for us” — quotes from the BBC:

“You know I like this player. In the past, when I was Chelsea’s coach, I tried to bring him to Chelsea.

“As I said before, I like this player and consider him an important player for us to have a good improvement but at the same there is a transfer market.

“We know very well which is our situation at the moment and we will see what happens but for now Lukaku is a United player.”

Man United paid $96 million for Lukaku just two years ago, so it would be unwise to expect them to let him leave for anything short of $80 million, if Inter are lucky.

Inter offering Lukaku $12.5M per season upon Man Utd switch

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No wonder Romelu Lukaku is intrigued by Inter Milan.

The 26-year-old is being offered a reported $51 million over four years by the Serie A giants should Manchester United agree to sell the big Belgian striker.

[ MORE: Sturridge punished ]

Sky Sports says that Lukaku’s absence from United’s friendly defeat of Leeds was “the start” of his departure from the Old Trafford set, though the two sides’ valuations of the player still differ by around $20 million.

United wants around $100 million for Lukaku.

Lukaku is coming off his worst season. He scored 12 goals in 32 Premier League appearances and two more in nine Champions League runs. The Belgian has been a magnet for six or seven assists a season, but only produced one this year.

United and Inter play Saturday in Singapore as a part of the International Champions Cup. Will a deal be done by then?

Transfer rumors: Joelinton nears Newcastle, Maguire latest

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Transfer rumors do come true, as we’ve learned with Matthijs de Ligt’s Thursday move to Juventus after weeks of speculation.

Will any of the following moves join his in coming to fruition?

Shoulder shrug emoji.

[ MORE: Sturridge punished ]

What a first signing this would be for Steve Bruce: It looks like Newcastle United has won its reported race against Wolves to sign Joelinton, one day after the same team battered the Magpies 4-0 in the Premier League Asia Trophy tournament.

Joelinton, 22, has reportedly said goodbye to his Hoffenheim teammates with just one stumbling block left in Newcastle’s bid to break its transfer record with a $45 million purchase.

The Brazilian wants a three-year deal on Tyneside, while the team is hoping to secure him for four seasons.

He scored 11 times with nine assists for Hoffenheim in a breakthrough campaign, and turns 23 next month. With the size of Salomon Rondon but nearly seven years his junior, Joelinton fits the club’s transfer profile.

Lys Mousset‘s unspectacular three-year spell at Bournemouth looks set to come to a close, though the Frenchman is going to stay in the Premier League.

Sky Sports reports that Sheffield United will pay around $11 million for the 23-year-old, who cost around $7.5 million from Le Havre in 2016.

Mousset scored five goals with one assist for Eddie Howe‘s men. Sheffield United has added Phil Jagielka and Ravel Morrison amongst others this offseason.

Let’s finish with the latest on Harry Maguire, whose team has gone into full-on hyper drive when it comes to a preferred move away from Leicester City.

The Foxes slapped a world record price tag on the the 26-year-old English center back, who has produced the sort of advanced stats that send numbers nerds through the roof.

Now the former Hull City back, according to sources, is hoping to both prod his current employers and endear himself to the Manchester United faithful by claiming Red Devils legends Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand as “heroes.”

Rashford, James, Pogba star as Manchester United hammers Leeds in Perth

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Manchester United topped Leeds 4-0 in a comprehensive victory in Perth that saw Marcus Rashford and new signing Daniel James run rampant down the flanks.

Rashford scored in the 27th minute with a beautiful move down the left that threw two Leeds defenders into each other, while James struck the post just before halftime on an overlap down the right in his Red Devils debut.

Also on the scoresheet was 17-year-old Mason Greenwood who received a hard, low cross from fellow debutant Aaron Wan-Bissaka and beat two Leeds defenders in a footrace to the ball on the doorstep for a sliding finish. The move was started by Paul Pogba who found the new Manchester United defender down the right with a wonderful through-ball, leading to the delivery into the box. Greenwood has had quite the last 12 months, scoring for the Manchester United U-17, U-18, U-23, and now senior side all in that span.

After the break, Phil Jones found the back of the net by powering home a corner with his head, while Anthony Martial finished off the scoreline with a penalty after Tahith Chong was fouled in the area by Liam Cooper. Chong impressed throughout the second half, linking well with fellow Manchester United youth product Angel Gomes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found playing time for just about every first-teamer, completely changing the side at halftime. Nemanja Matic was one of the halftime introductions, but was curiously withdrawn with 12 minutes to go, unclear if due to injury. The only Red Devil in the squad to not see the field was 21-year-old Axel Tuanzebe.

Solskjaer: ‘We just need consistency’

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In a vague, general word, Manchester United manager knows exactly what his club have been missing. Consistency.

More specifically, consistent success.

In a sit-down interview with the BBC, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mentioned striving for consistency in performances on no less than four occasions, including when speaking about Alexis Sanchez. Man United won eight straight matches in all competitions and 10 of its first 11 under the Norwegian manager.

[READ: De Ligt lands in Turin ahead of Juventus move]

And yet, the consistency wasn’t there late in the season, when Man United faltered down the stretch and won just two of its last ten matches to close the season on a sour note. Man United finished in sixth place, and while Solskjaer said he believed it would be a challenge to break into the top four, he said with some consistent performances, Man United could achieve its goals.

“We have to aim for further up than fourth,” Solskjaer told the BBC. “I would rather be an optimist and be wrong than a pessimist and be right. I am not used to us being fifth or sixth but that is where we are at. That is the size of the challenge. I love that challenge.

“We have to work with the players, sign the right types and gradually make our way to the challenging line. Our players do have quality. They do have a chance. We just need consistency. We have to keep working every single day and not take our eyes off the target. Everyone gets off line at some point but you can’t let it drift too far because then you won’t get to the overall goal.”

Some Man United fans have been mumbling and rumbling due to the slow start in this summer’s transfer window. Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia have both departed on free transfers, while only Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have come in. While it’s not the improvements some fans were hoping for, it’s helped give some of the young players, like James Garner, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenword, some hope that they can get minutes.

Perhaps the push from the young players for first team minutes will make Man United a bit more competitive in training again, which can only help in terms of having success on the field.

The big question remains, which Man United team will we see this season. The one from Solskjaer’s first two months on the job, or the one from his last six weeks.