The Corriere dello Sport claim Manchester United are trying to make the most of Inter’s financial problems by offering to take Lautaro Martinez or Milan Skriniar for outstanding Romelu Lukaku payments, but don’t expect the gambit to work.
It’s more like this is part of a pressure campaign to get the best possible deal out of the situation, similar to the negotiations that went right down to the wire over the summer for Alexis Sanchez.
In the end, he did not extend his loan at San Siro, but rather signed on to a permanent transfer for a minimal fee, in exchange Manchester United no longer had his salary on their books.
The Corriere dello Sport newspaper suggested this morning that Inter had failed to meet a payment deadline in the €74m Romelu Lukaku deal, but rather than an instalment, it was a bonus they missed out on.
That might still be enough to activate a clause meaning Inter must hand over the full outstanding figure by March 31.
Owners Suning are currently in advanced negotiations to sell all or part of their shares in Inter, so would not be in a position to simply pay up the full sum.
Manchester United know this and are trying to take advantage of the situation by offering to wipe out the Lukaku debt by taking Lautaro Martinez or Milan Skriniar over the summer.
Both are worth more than the outstanding €50m or so from Lukaku’s transfer.
Nonetheless, the Corriere dello Sport also makes clear this is a hopeful approach from the Premier League club, who know it is doomed to failure.
They just want to put pressure on the Nerazzurri and remind them of the delicate financial situation they find themselves in, at least until that takeover is completed.
Inter lawyers will also try to argue that the missed bonus is not sufficient to trigger that ‘lack of payment’ clause in the Lukaku contract.