Manchester United are in talks with Juventus over a deal to swap Romelu Lukaku for Paulo Dybala.
Juventus have jumped in after negotiations between United and Inter Milan over the Belgium striker stalled. United remain in contact with Inter after rejecting an opening bid of £54million, but they are looking for a transfer fee closer to £80m.
That is similar to Juve’s valuation of Dybala, raising the prospect of a player exchange between the two clubs. While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were preparing for a pre-season friendly against Kristiansund in Oslo yesterday, Dybala’s agent and brother Mariano flew to London for talks with United bosses.
Asked after a 1-0 win in Norway about the possibility of signing the 25-year-old Argentine forward, Solskjaer said: ‘I’m not here to talk about any rumours or speculation about other team’s players. But, of course, we’re working on one or two cases.
‘There’s another 10 days before we start the league and hopefully we can announce a fresh face or two. Rom got injured and it was best for him to stay home. He wouldn’t have been able to play. Hopefully he might be able to train in the next couple of days, let’s see what happens. You never know what happens in football.’
Juve are also looking to offload Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic, but Dybala is a better fit for the slicker style Solskjaer wants to play this season.
A swap deal is on the agenda, but not pivotal to negotiations. United could still sell Lukaku to Inter and sign Dybala from Juve. Club sources confirmed last night that talks have taken place with both clubs but a deal is still some way off.
Lukaku is understood to prefer a move to the San Siro and Inter boss Antonio Conte is desperate to sign a player who eluded him when he was in charge at Chelsea two years ago, instead signing for United from Everton for £75m.
United, who have also distanced themselves from speculation linking them with Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes, have warned Inter that they would want time before the Premier League transfer deadline tomorrow week to sign a replacement striker if they sell Lukaku. Lukaku was left at home when United went to Oslo, meaning he has missed all five pre-season games. After four straight wins on tour, including victories over Inter Milan and Tottenham, Solskjaer’s side made heavy work of beating a Kristiansund side newly promoted to Norway’s top flight.
United had more than 30 shots but failed to convert a string of chances until Juan Mata won and then scored a late penalty.
‘We need to be more clinical,’ said Solskjaer. ‘It’s something we’re going to have to improve.’Daily Mail