Manchester United are holding talks that could lead to Paulo Dybala signing from Juventus as part of a swap deal involving Romelu Lukaku.
Dybala’s agent is in England for discussions with United and the player will then decide whether he wants to move to Old Trafford. His preference is to stay at Juventus but an attractive offer could change his mind and he knows his club would like him to go if it clears the way to sign Lukaku.
Dybala is a creative attacking player who joined Juventus from Palermo in 2015 for an initial €32m and was part of the Argentina squad at last year’s World Cup and this year’s Copa América.
The 25-year-old can play across a variety of attacking roles and scored the only goal in Juventus’s Champions League group victory at Old Trafford last October.
Lukaku has been a prime target for Antonio Conte but Internazionale failed with a £54m bid and have said they cannot increase that.
“We made a strong offer, one that is valid and suited to the transfer value of the player and we were unable to conclude a deal,” the Inter chief executive, Beppe Marotta, told Sky Sport Italia. “The club is strong, but we need to stay within certain parameters. The club has made big investments and we believe we’re already at a good stage in the process.”
That has led Juventus, who are managed by Maurizio Sarri, to try to sign Lukaku. The forward is keen on a transfer after two seasons at United, whom he joined from Everton.
Lukaku has not played in pre-season because of injury and was not part of the squad who beat Kristiansund in Norway on Tuesday night in the penultimate match for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team before their opening Premier League game at home to Chelsea on Sunday 11 August. Solskjær’s return to his hometown club was marred by the confirmation that Eric Bailly faces up to five months out following knee surgery.
United’s manager revealed the extent of Bailly’s injury after Juan Mata’s late penalty gave his side a 1-0 win over the team from the town where he was born – and for whom the Norwegian’s son Noah made his debut as a late substitute. Bailly suffered the injury during United’s 2-1 win over Tottenham in their pre-season meeting in Shanghai last week.
Paul Pogba was left on the bench for the first hour despite Solskjær, who watched the game with his other son, Elijah, fielding a strong lineup.