Liam Canning, Contributor
With the summer transfer window coming to its close in just 10 days’ time, clubs are now frantically searching for potential replacements on players that they expect to leave.
Manchester United are firmly on that side, with Romelu Lukaku edging closer to a move to Italy with either Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus or Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan. Both sides have reportedly agreed personal terms with the Belgium international, but the Red Devils are holding out in excess of the £75 million they initially signed him for.
It is expected that Lukaku will find pastures new come the end of August, but Manchester United, quite rightly, want a quick resolution in order to give the green light on a replacement.
One striker that has been tipped to be among the top three targets should Lukaku leave is Olympique Lyon’s Moussa Dembele. Having only joined the French side this time last year, president Jean-Michele Aulas is demanding £40 million for a player tied into the club until 2023.
Dembele is a different striker to Lukaku, one that can involve the forwards and midfielders around him, as well as be agile on the edge of the box and deliver when needed. Dembele, having just turned 23, has his best years ahead of him and will eventually want to make his mark in England in the Premier League.
The Frenchman’s record reads 23 goals and six assists in the 2018/19 campaign, which, in 52 appearances, is over a goal contribution per-game. It has been clear to see that Ole Gunnar Solskjær plans to play in a more fluid manner for the upcoming season, which is why Dembele’s athleticism and ability to float on the wings as well as through the middle could be appealing to the club.
There is no denying that Lukaku is an out-and-out goalscorer, but with a lack of confidence when it matters and inability to transition quickly from defence into attack while being at the tip of the spear, it is no great surprise to see the Red Devils try to move him on for good money while they can.
In Italy, Lukaku will excel with the game being a lot slower-paced in Serie A than the Premier League, which will allow him to turn in-and-around the box and cause trouble for the opposition defences. His brute strength and forceful nature will also be incredibly difficult to handle in a league where the style of play is not as physically demanding.
Manchester United know they have a lot of business to be done before the end of the window on August 8 and are not in the dark over Lukaku’s wishes to leave. Should the Belgian’s exit come to fruition, the Red Devils will have to act quicker than ever in order to get this deal over the line.