Romelu Lukaku will miss his third match in a row on Manchester United’s tour when they play Inter Milan – the club bidding to sign him – in Singapore on Saturday.
Lukaku has been unavailable for United’s first two games against Perth Glory and Leeds United with an unspecified ‘niggle’ as transfer talks between the two clubs continue.
United want to recoup in the region of £90m – the total fee agreed with Everton when they signed Lukaku two years ago – but Inter are looking at closer to £75m.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that the Belgium striker is out of the game at the National Stadium in Singapore after missing another training session.
“No, he’s not fit so he won’t be available,” said Solskjaer.
“I don’t have any updates from the last time I spoke to you. Anthony Martial has missed a couple of days training and Romelu has missed them all.”
Asked if Paul Pogba’s form and focus seem to be right following a summer of speculation over his future, Solskjaer added: “I’m looking to get all the players back to the form when I came in. We went on a run without losing so it’s not about just Paul Pogba getting back to that form, it’s everyone. Everyone has been spot on this season and when they’re out on the pitch.”
Meanwhile, Martial has played 45 minutes in both United’s opening games, converting a penalty against Leeds.
But Solskjaer acknowledged the Frenchman needs to step up this season after sharing his predecessor Jose Mourinho’s frustration over the player’s attitude at times.
Mourinho was of a mind to sell Martial last summer – particularly after the player went AWOL from the pre-season tour in the US – but his efforts were blocked by the Old Trafford board.
“Yeah, Anthony can be a world-class forward,” said Solskjaer. “If you followed Anthony the last few seasons, the way he’s come back to pre-season now his attitude is absolutely spot on. There are a couple of glimpses of the new Anthony in the way he works for the team. He’s got the talent and work-rate is improving.
“I expect him and Marcus (Rashford) to be even better than last season. Anthony had a top season when he came, was top scorer, then had a couple of seasons where he’s not hit the amount of goals and quality, so I think it will be a better Anthony this year.”
Solskjaer confirmed that he will look to give some players more game time against Spurs after changing all 11 at half-time in both the opening games. David De Gea and Luke Shaw should be available after missing the Leeds game, although Matteo Damian and Fred are unlikely to feature after joining up with the tour in Singapore.
“We’ll give players some 45 minutes, some will get 60 maybe up to 70. It’s another stepping stone we don’t plan to swap all 11 at half-time,” he added.
“So far we’ve had loads of positive and encouraging moments, games are a part of it. It’s a stepping stone and tomorrow night will be another.
“I think both (De Gea and Shaw) will be available. Luke did a decent training session yesterday and David will train today, so we will try to get 60 minutes or longer out of him.
“Today, we’re going to see where they (Fred and Darmian) are at because they’ve been training back home. Fred’s been over in Brazil and got married, so probably he has got loads of energy and I’m sure he is keen to join in.”
Solskjaer expects to see more from the Brazil midfielder after a disappointing first season at Old Trafford following his £52m move from Shakhtar Donetsk.
“Well, I think you’re not surprised when a player from Brazil who’s played in Ukraine finds it hard in the beginning. But we know the talent is there. We’ve seen what he can give us and he’s one that we hope is going to take another step this season. Hopefully, him missing 10 days of pre-season won’t harm him too much.”