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Romelu Lukaku hints at Manchester United exit as he labels new Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte the 'best manager in the world' and admits he 'loves Italy'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 13/6/2019 Chris Wheeler for MailOnline

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group I - Belgium v Scotland - King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium - June 11, 2019  Belgium's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their second goal   REUTERS/Francois Lenoir © Reuters Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group I - Belgium v Scotland - King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium - June 11, 2019 Belgium's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Romelu Lukaku has moved a step closer to leaving Manchester United for Italy after describing Inter Milan's new coach Antonio Conte as 'the best manager in the world'.

Lukaku has made it clear that he would welcome a move to Italy two years after joining United for £75million and rejecting the chance to play for Conte at Chelsea.

United are prepared to listen to offers for the Belgium international but want to recoup the transfer fee they paid Everton in the summer of 2017.

Inter value the 26-year-old striker closer to £50m and would prefer to include players as part of the deal, although that proposal is understood to have been rejected by United.

The Italian club are now expected to make a formal offer for Lukaku after he heaped praise on Conte – although they face competition from Juventus where current Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri could join Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin next season and, possibly, Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli.

'I was always a big fan of the Italian league,' said Lukaku after scoring twice in Belgium's Euro 2020 qualifying win over Scotland.

a close up of Antonio Conte: Lukaku has labelled Antonio Conte as the 'best manager in the world' in an interview this week © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Lukaku has labelled Antonio Conte as the 'best manager in the world' in an interview this week

'People close to me, they know I have two leagues that I always dreamed about, which is the Premier League and the Serie A, so you know, I love Italy.

'With the transfer of Ronaldo, the Italian league is now coming back.

'Now Antonio Conte going back to Inter, which is really good because, to me, he's the best manager in the world.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Conte (left) smiles as he is unveiled as the new Inter Milan boss alongside the club's president © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Conte (left) smiles as he is unveiled as the new Inter Milan boss alongside the club's president

'Then you have Maurizio Sarri going to Juventus, Ancelotti at Naples. I think Serie A will be really exciting next year and I'm really happy for Italian football.

'Conte knows what I think about him. You know I'm not somebody who likes to talk about my personal relationship with managers, but I'm a Manchester United player.

'I have a contract and I have to respect my club. If something happens, you know, I think the teams and my agents have to do the talking. I just make my decision and stay out of it.'

Lukaku's agent Federico Pastorello has worked closely with both Inter and Juventus in the past, and is hoping to broker a deal this summer.

Inter want to offload a number of players, notably striker Mauro Icardi, and are interested in signing Edin Dzeko from Roma in addition to Lukaku.

a man wearing a football uniform: Lukaku says it is an exciting year ahead for Serie A as he teased a potential move to Italy © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Lukaku says it is an exciting year ahead for Serie A as he teased a potential move to Italy

United could still keep the former Chelsea player, but his future has been in doubt since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over in December and made Marcus Rashford his first-choice striker.

'I've had a difficult season at club level,' said Lukaku. '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.

'I have a contract with Man United. I'll speak with my club and my agent 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. Do I expect a busy summer? Yes.'

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