Manchester United are keeping a close eye on the financial situation at Inter after a report in Italy suggested that they may not be able to pay the remaining money from the Romelu Lukaku transfer.
Lukaku left Old Trafford for Inter in the summer of 2019 in a deal worth close to the £75m mark, and United agreed to allow the Italian side to pay in instalments – with Inter required to pay the entire balance immediately if they fail to make one payment.
A report on Wednesday suggested that Inter had missed the deadline on a £4m payment and were now required to pay the leftover £43m immediately – something Inter cannot afford to do right now. While that seemed semi-feasible, the story appeared to lose credibility when it suggested that United had demanded either Milan Skriniar or, more ridiculously, Lautaro Martinez as compensation. Sure.
Unsurprisingly, that has been quashed by the Daily Mail. Inter are not thought to have missed any payments thus far, although there are growing concerns over whether the Italian side will continue to meet all their deadlines.
Inter have been in financial trouble for some time now, and owners Suning were recently forced to shut down their Chinese Super League side, reigning champions Jiangsu Suning, because they simply do not have the money to run it.
“While Suning have confirmed their commitment to financially support the club with or without additional external support, it is also sensible and prudent to look outside,” an Inter statement read. “With that in mind, Suning have appointed key advisers in Asia to work with them to find suitable partners.”
United are keeping a close eye on Suning’s search for fresh investment as they want to ensure that they don’t miss out on a penny of the money owed to them, but suggestions that they have demanded Skriniar or Martinez as compensation have been put to bed fairly quickly.
The Red Devils will obviously be keen to recoup all the money from a business point of view, but they will be desperate to ensure they are financially compensated for losing a player now widely viewed as one of the best strikers on the planet.
The Belgian has fired home 58 goals in his 82 appearances for Inter – he managed 42 in 96 United games – and has transformed Antonio Conte’s side into leading contenders for the Serie A title this season.
United could do with someone of that pedigree now. Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace was their third consecutive goalless draw in all competitions, and their slump in form has seen them drop 14 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.