July 19, 2019 / 9:45 AM / 2 months ago

Manchester United's Lukaku not fit to face suitors Inter Milan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Romelu Lukaku was not fit to play against Inter Milan in Singapore on Saturday, as the Italian side reiterated their desire to lure the striker to Serie A.

Speaking to media on Friday ahead of the match at Singapore’s National Stadium in the International Champions Cup, Solskjaer said: “He is not fit, so he won’t be able to play.”

Asked if Lukaku would still be a United player at the start of the season, he added: “I don’t have any updates.”

Lukaku is yet to feature on the pre-season trip to Australia, Singapore and China after taking a knock in training earlier this week.

The Belgium international, who joined United two years ago, has been targeted by Inter Milan, but talks between the two clubs have stalled recently, according to British media reports.

Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte, who also spoke to media on Friday, did not hide his desire to secure a deal for Lukaku.

“I like this player and I consider him an important player for us to have a good improvement. We will see what will happen but now, for sure, Lukaku is a United player,” Conte said.

Solskjaer was also pressed on the focus and form of midfielder Paul Pogba, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-world record fee of 89.3 million pounds ($110.83 million) and has been linked with a move away from the club.

“I’m looking to get all the players back to the form that we were on when I first came in. It’s not about just Paul Pogba getting back to that form. It’s every one of us,” Solskjaer said.

“Everyone has been spot on pre-season and the games they’ve played. When they are out on the pitch, I can’t fault anyone. When we have got meetings, they are more proactive...I’ve been very encouraged.”

United have pledged to invest in their squad in the close-season following a disappointing sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, 32 points behind champions Manchester City.

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group I - Belgium v Scotland - King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium - June 11, 2019 Belgium's Romelu Lukaku reacts after missing a chance to score REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Files

They have so far signed defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and Wales winger Daniel James from Championship side Swansea City. Solskjaer said the club is working on “one or two” more targets before the transfer window closes.

Solskjaer has already said the team would need a “miraculous season” to mount a challenge in the next campaign because of how much their rivals have improved.

United kick off their new league season against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Aug. 11.

Reporting by John Geddie; Editing by Toby Davis

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