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Lukaku latest: AWOL striker fined for absence, told to train with U-23s

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Lukaku has not reported back to Carrington, but Inter feel they are making progress on a deal

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Manchester United Pre-Season Tour Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The Romelu Lukaku transfer saga has taken an unpleasant turn. After the striker was pictured training with Anderlecht’s U-23s on Monday, many fans were left bemused. Despite his well-known desire to leave, Lukaku is still a Manchester United player. The squad had a day off on Monday, but being pictured in another club’s kit is hardly an activity that is likely to have gone down well. United offered no comment.

Today, however, it has been reported that Lukaku failed to report back to Carrington as expected on Tuesday, and has been fined two weeks wages for his absence. A detailed story in The Athletic also says that Solskjaer was furious with Lukaku for his recent post on Twitter where he revealed confidential training data, and instructed him to train with the reserves on his return.

Lukaku, for his part, is said to feel “like a spare part” at United. He is bemused that Pogba’s desire to leave has been indulged, while the result of his has been effective banishment. The relationship between Lukaku and Pogba — once so close that it was Pogba’s influence that helped guide Lukaku to United over Chelsea two years ago — has supposedly deteriorated significantly.

Lukaku may get his wish anyway, as Internazionale have re-entered negotiations with United for his transfer. Inter are briefing that they are confident a deal can be struck, but their most recent bids of £54m and £65m were rejected out of hand. United see Lukaku as a valuable asset (for good reason, despite his questionable conditioning) and are holding out for a £80m fee.