Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed he had discussed the prospect of signing Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United.
Lukaku seems set to end his two-year stay at United this summer after falling out of favour last season. Head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prefers to use Marcus Rashford as his main centre-forward instead.
Fueling rumours over the 26-year-old’s future is his no-show for United during pre-season. While Solskjaer has excused his absence down to injury, reports have claimed otherwise.
Apparently, the Red Devils board don’t want to risk Lukaku getting injured as it could lower his transfer value.
There are currently two clubs in hot pursuit of the former Everton star in Inter Milan and Juventus. Although the latter is allegedly the more likely option, with a reported trade deal involving Paulo Dybala in place.
But a surprise third club in Napoli have emerged as surprise contenders for Lukaku’s services. Italian press claim that they’re willing to offer United cash and striker Arkadiusz Milik.
While confirming he’s spoken to Lukaku’s agent, however, De Laurentiis denied that Napoli have entered the race.
“You know why there are rumours about him? Because I am good friends with his agent, Federico Pastorello, who I often wake up at dawn for a chat,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“I asked him: ‘Do you think Lukaku would suit Napoli? Is he going to Juventus or not?’ We spoke in those terms, but then we know it’s in the interest of agents to make it seem as if we made an offer, as that raises the price tag for someone else.
“This is why I’d prefer it if the transfer market opened the day after the season ended and closed at the end of July.”
Lukaku was again absent during United’s International Champions Cup clash against AC Milan on Saturday. However, Solskjaer’s side still won 5-4 on penalties after drawing 2-2 in Cardiff.