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Manchester United

Lukaku: Solskjaer eyeing free agent Llorente to replace striker

The Tottenham striker is out of contract and is attracting interest from Fiorentina and Napoli but could provide a solution to the departure of the Belgian.

Lukaku: Solskjaer eyeing free agent Llorente to replace striker
DYLAN MARTINEZ REUTERS

Romelu Lukaku’s Manchester United career appears to be over with the Belgium international currently training at his old club Anderlecht and not having featured in a single minute of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pre-season preparations.

The striker, 26, is holding out for a move to Inter Milan but it has not yet been forthcoming with United rejecting an offer in the region of 75 million euros for Lukaku and holding out for another 10 million or so, a fee that is currently a little rich for Inter’s tastes.

However, with the Premier League transfer window due to close onFriday, Solskjaer has a game of brinkmanship to play: after 8 August English clubs will be prevented from adding players to their squads but their staff can still be picked off by teams from other European Leagues where the window closes later.

Solskjaer in need of a little muscle up front

That leaves Inter in the driving seat in negotiations for Lukaku but Solskjaer in a potential pickle if he does not find a replacement in a similar vein to the Belgian. With Marouane Fellaini long since departed for China, United lack a physical presence in a front line currently populated by Anthony Martial, Alexis Sánchez, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and new signing Daniel James.

Solskjaer is therefore reportedly considering making a move for Fernando Llorente, who is out of contract at Tottenham and available on a free transfer. The Spaniard, who was sparsely used by Mauricio Pochettino last season but popped up with some vital goals when required, would offer United the Plan B that has been their hallmark in recent seasons and at no cost.

However, Solskjaer will have to decide quickly with Napoli and Fiorentina also interested in the former Juventus striker and, like Inter, with the luxury of an extended window to pursue Llorente.