Monday 23 September 2019

Manchester United and Juventus 'close' to finalising swap deal for Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku

Juventus’s Paulo Dybala scored against Manchester United in the Champions League last season. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Juventus’s Paulo Dybala scored against Manchester United in the Champions League last season. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United insiders have confirmed that they have reached agreement with Juventus over a swap deal that will see Paulo Dybala move to Old Trafford and Romelu Lukaku make the switch to Turin.

After rumours that the move was edging closer on Tuesday afternoon, United and Juve concluded their negotiations over a deal that could be worth in excess of £80m, with Dybala now left to agree terms over his move to England.

Dybala's representatives met with United officials in London on Tuesday to thrash out an agreement, with the initial reluctance of the player to move to a club that will play Europa League football next season seemingly evaporating when Juve made it clear they wanted him to move on.

Widespread reports in Italy suggest Dybala's plans to hold talks with new Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri may be abandoned, amid claims that he could fly to England to finalise his move to United imminently.

As for Lukaku, he has made it clear for several months that he is keen to move to Italy and while Inter Milan were initially the front runners to secure his signature, they could not agree a fee with United for the player.

Now it appears a swap deal that could be hugely beneficial for both clubs financially for numerous reasons is set to be finalised, with the lack of cash moving between the two clubs making this a cost-effective deal.

It will be the second time United have agree to a swap move in 18 months, with Alexis Sanchez joining the club from Arsenal and Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the other direction with no cash exchanged in the transaction in January 2018.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to be drawn on the rumours that Dybala would be unveiled as a United player in the coming days, as he offered up these comments after Tuesday night’s 1-0 friendly victory against Kristiansund.

"I'm not here to talk about rumours about other teams' players," he told the United website. "We're working on one or two cases. It's 10 days or so before we start the league and hopefully we can announce a fresh face or two."

The pre-season victory, settled by a late Juan Mata penalty, was marred by the confirmation that United defender Eric Bailly faces up to five months out following knee surgery.

Bailly suffered the injury during United’s 2-1 win over Tottenham in their pre-season meeting in Shanghai last week.

With the exception of Paul Pogba who started on the bench, Solskjaer, who watched his son Noah make his debut as a late substitute while sitting with his other son, Elijah, named a virtually full-strength side against the Norwegians.

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