Inter are nearing closer to the signature of Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, but face a race against time to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
The Belgian, who registered 15 goals and four assists in 40 appearances across all competitions for United this term, is understood to be Antonio Conte’s number one target to lead the line for the Nerazzurri next season.
According to Sport Mediaset, the Milanese club are edging closer to agreeing on a deal for Lukaku, after sporting director Guiseppe Marotta was able to leverage his close relationship with the player’s agent Federico Pastorello to negotiate a reduction on his current salary.
The 26-year-old is said to be willing to reduce his earnings to €8m-a-year to join Conte in Italy, with the coach, the lifestyle and the proximity to his brother, Jordan, who plays for Lazio, all factors in this decision.
Back in April, Lukaku admitted: “Playing in Serie A is a dream, it would be really a dream. I hope to be able to play sooner or later, even if at the moment I am focused on the United.”
Since then, the striker has been in regular contact with international teammate Radja Nainngolan.
However, though the Red Devils are willing to allow the forward to leave this summer, they are in a strong negotiating position, given the player’s contract is not set to expire until June 2022.
According to the report from Italy, United have thus set a €70m (£62m) asking price on the Belgian’s head.
However, there is a potential spanner in the works. Not only are Inter apparently unwilling to pay that much for the striker, but there is some doubt that they will even be capable of amassing that kind of fee.
This is because, as reported by the Sun, they face an uphill battle to conform with FFP regulations, with an extra £40m needed to balance their books before 30 June. This will start with a deal to sell Icardi, with players such as Ivan Perisic also on the table for a move.
Despite Icardi’s obvious world-class talents, the Italians have found it difficult to secure a buyer for the Argentine, following his off-field contractual antics this term, with some claims that even United, a club attempting to sign Adrien Rabiot, were unwilling to consider the striker in their discussions over Lukaku.