Man United prepared to start season without Lukaku, Fernandes and Dybala 2 weeks ago

Man United prepared to start season without Lukaku, Fernandes and Dybala

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to have lost patience with Romelu Lukaku and is eager to offload him before Thursday.

The 'Fernandes United' storyline appears to have been a thing of smoke and mirrors.

Lukaku wants to leave Manchester United and the club are happy for him to leave. If only it were that simple.

Given the fact that he has just turned 26, has scored 42 goals in 96 appearances, for United, and is nearing 50 international goals for Belgium, United believe they should be getting close to the £72m they paid for Lukaku. They would love £80m but they will consider good offers when they get them.

Inter Milan bid £57m for the Belgian but that was quickly dismissed. United were not interested in a swap deal for Mauro Icardi, a striker Inter want shot of despite his decent goal-scoring record in Serie A. Juventus then entered the fray and there was the possibility of a swap deal - Lukaku for Argentine star Paul Dybala.

Dybala's representatives went to England to try and sort the best possible deal for their man, while the player himself sought out new Juve boss Maurizio Sarri to get a straight answer on his playing chances for the season. There was a major development in the Lukaku-Dybala story on Sunday evening and United have been getting their side of the story out there.

According to various reports, Dybala's representatives wanted a signing on fee similar to the £10m that Alexis Sanchez' agent received when he switched from Arsenal to United in January 2018. They also wanted a pay bump from the £7.5m annual salary Dybala has at Juventus to £10m.

United got the feeling Dybala was not super keen to join them for the upcoming Premier and Europa League campaigns and nixed the switch. They are still happy to let Lukaku join Juventus but they won't be trading him for Dybala. There is talk of 33-year-old Mario Mandzukic joining United on a £15m two-year deal but that could well be sealed separately.

As for the long-running Bruno Fernandes transfer saga, it appears that the Portuguese international is not anywhere near top of Solskjaer's transfer wish-list. The 24-year-old's representatives have let it be known that they met with Tottenham and United earlier this summer, regarding a transfer, but United have distanced themselves from that.

It could well be the case that Fernandes' agency is attempting to mirror the tactic employed by Nicolas Pepe's representatives. The Lille attacker found his named heavily linked to United and Liverpool earlier in the summer, despite both clubs denying they were in for him. As it transpired, Lille only received two bids for the Ivory Coast international - from Napoli and Arsenal - before the Gunners signed him for £72m.

United are letting it be known, through club sources, that they would like Lukaku moved on and a replacement lined up before the summer transfer window closes. Should they not get someone in for Lukaku, they seem prepared to go into the season with an attacking unit of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez, with the likes of Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes getting game-time.

United fans may not be too enamoured with that stance but Harry Maguire's capture is due to be confirmed. He, at least, wants to be there.

For United, that is a good start to their new start.