Romelu Lukaku gave his clearest suggestion yet that his time at Manchester United is coming to an end by saying he expects a ‘busy summer’ when he returns from his holidays.
Lukaku lost his place in United’s first-choice starting XI last season amid indifferent form and new Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte wants to sign the striker at last after he was pipped to his £75million signing in 2017 while Chelsea boss. Napoli are also in the hunt.
With Marcus Rashford now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred striker and support for Lukaku dwindling among the supporters at Old Trafford, the Belgian has hinted that he has already made a decision over his future – and that is to move on.
He said: ‘I have a contract with Man United. I’ll speak with my club and my agent Federico Pastorello to make the best decision.
‘I am going to enjoy my holidays with my family now. I know what I’ll do, but won’t say it. We’ll see. If I expect a busy summer? Yes.’
Lukaku also pledged to use his unhappy season at United to come back stronger after two goals in Belgium’s 3-0 European qualifying victory over Scotland on Tuesday reminded club coaches what he is capable of.
Belgian fans staged a display of affection for ‘Big Rom’ before kick-off, unveiling giant banners reading ’26 years old, already a legend’, prompting coach Roberto Martinez to call it a ‘love’ that made the side unique in Europe.
Lukaku scored in the 45th and 57th minutes to ensure Belgium remained unbeaten in Group I after four games and said he had been determined to rectify his slump in Manchester that saw him score 15 goals in 45 appearances.
‘I’ve had a difficult season at club level,’ he said. ‘I lost my place and haven’t played much.
‘But that is a phase in my career and it will help me for the next step.’
He waved away a question about a reported possible move to Inter with no comment.
Former Wigan Athletic and Everton manager Martinez praised Lukaku’s consistency in front of goal over the past three years, which aided Belgium’s third-place finish at last year’s World Cup and has continued with three goals in their last two games.
‘I just feel sometimes a bit sad when I don’t see Rom enjoying his football,’ Martinez said.
‘When he enjoys his football he’s a lethal goalscorer.’
Lukaku also won an endorsement from Scotland coach Steve Clarke, who coached him as a youngster at West Bromwich Albion.
‘I’ve just had a big cuddle with him in the tunnel. He apologised for scoring,’ Clarke joked before predicting greater heights for him.
‘He wants to get better and better. He wants to keep challenging himself.
‘When you’re a top player and you want to keep getting better things can only look up.’