Antonio Conte says it is “important” for Inter Milan to sign Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United this summer.
Sky Sports News understands the Serie A side have offered £63m for the Belgian forward, with the payments structured over several seasons, but United are holding out for more than the £75m they paid for him two years ago.
Lukaku is on United’s pre-season tour in Asia but is yet to feature, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed he will not play against Inter in their International Champions Cup match on Saturday due to injury.
Asked ahead of that game whether he was frustrated by the lack of progress towards signing Lukaku, Conte said: “Frustrated is a big word. Lukaku is United’s player and this is the reality.
“You know very well that I like this player, also in the past when I was Chelsea’s coach and I tried to bring him. But I repeat: today Lukaku is a player of United. I have great respect for United.
“I consider him an important player for us to have a good improvement. We know which is our situation; we will see what happens.”
Inter’s attempts to sign Lukaku are being held up by the lack of interest in striker Mauro Icardi, who is not part of their squad in Singapore and has been told he can leave.
When quizzed on the future of Icardi – who was Inter’s captain – Conte said: “The club was very clear to tell that he is out of Inter’s project.”
While Lukaku has been ruled out of United’s game against Inter, Solskjaer says David de Gea and Luke Shaw could return after missing the 4-0 win over Leeds on Wednesday.
Solskjaer said: “I think both will be available. Luke did a decent training session yesterday before we left, and David trained today, so we’ll try to get 60 [minutes] or longer out of him. It shouldn’t be too difficult – he’s a ‘keeper.”
Matteo Darmian and Fred have both joined up with the squad, and they will be assessed.