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Is Romelu Lukaku set to be one of Antonio Conte's first pieces of business at Inter?

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Conte makes his return to football

On Friday morning one of the worst kept secrets in football was finally confirmed, with Antonio Conte making his return to management. The Italian has been linked with a number of clubs since leaving Chelsea last year, but Inter Milan is the one he's opted for and it looks like he has a big job on his hands.

The Nerazzurri haven't finished higher than fourth position since the 2010/11 campaign when they were runners-up behind Juventus, with the Turin outfit dominating during the current era. Juventus have won Serie A in each of the last 8 seasons and Conte has the unenviable task of trying to topple them at the summit of the division, which has to be up there with the toughest challenges in the game.

But in Conte they've appointed someone who is a winner and it's a big statement of intent in convincing him to move to the San Siro. He has 8 major honours in his 10 years of management which includes 3 Serie A titles from his time with Juventus and of course the 2016/17 Premier League, so he's a proven winner.

Antonio Conte Chelsea
Antonio Conte is proven winner and will demand a lot from his Inter Milan players

But with Inter in something of a lull in terms of challenging for the title, there's a lot of work that needs to be done so it's time for him to really earn his money. Big changes are expected this summer with the future of top scorer Mauro Icardi a real hot topic. Clubs will be queuing up for his signature so it's essential that they get his replacement right and if reports are true, then it looks like Romelu Lukaku could well be that man.

Conte is a known admirer of the bustling Belgian and with him struggling to make an impact at Manchester United since making his £75m move from Everton, he could be available for transfer. The Red Devils will be looking to re-coup most the cash they shelled out on him so he certainly won't be cheap, but a change of scenery could be just what he needs to re-ignite his club career which has gone slightly stale over the last couple of seasons.

The clocks ticking on Rom's Old Trafford stay

We all know that Romelu Lukaku is a very good finisher, but for a number of reasons his mega money transfer to Manchester United just hasn't worked out. There was big expectations when the Old Trafford outfit shelled out a fee that could raise to £90m and understandably so.

He joined on the back of his most prolific season in the Premier League, netting 25 times for Everton and playing in a team containing the likes of Anthony Martial & Paul Pogba you'd expect much more goalscoring opportunities. But it just hasn't come to fruition.

Lukaku is built for holding the ball up and using his physicality to bully his opponents, it's what made him such a menace at Goodison Park. But his flaws have really been evident since moving to Manchester. His technical ability and first touch in particular have been scrutinised by United fans and rival supporters, with him evidently not the correct fit for their team.

Romelu Lukaku Manchester United Old Trafford
He's shown flashes of what he's capable of, but Romelu Lukaku has really struggled to get going since making his £75m move from Everton

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants a more mobile attacking line so it's really hard to see where the 26 year-old is going to fit in going forward. So should a big offer be submitted for his services, United & OGS would be very tempted to cash in for sure. But one stumbling point could be the transfer fee, with the Red Devils spending so much to sign him they'd want to re-coup the majority of it, which could be tough as his stock has dropped since he left Everton.

The Premier League is where he's made his name but perhaps a move to a different league and country could be just what he needs to re-ignite his club career. 15 goals in 45 appearances is decent but it isn't good enough for a no.9 on the books of Manchester United, especially one who should be entering the peak years of his career.

We've seen how Antonio Conte has improved players from his time in England with Chelsea so linking up with the Italian could provide the boost that he needs to re-discover his goalscoring form.

Is a move to Serie A & Milan the right choice?

Moving to a new club and in particular, a new country, throws up a number of challenges and obstacles. It can take time to bed in and adjust to the rigours and demands but in Serie A, we can really see Lukaku flourishing.

On his day the 26 year-old is an absolute nightmare for defenders. He's huge in stature and in full flow he's a difficult man to stop, with his pace and power making him a real threat. Serie A is one of the top leagues in world football but it is very different to that of the Premier League.

England's top flight is one of the more fast paced, physical divisions whilst in Italy it's a significantly slower, meaning that if Lukaku can make a decent start he could really dominate over there. We've just seen a 36 year-old Fabio Quagliarella score 26 league goals and win the Golden Boot, so if he can succeed over there at that age then why can't the Belgian?

Sanchez Lukaku
Alexis Sanchez has also been linked with a move to the San Siro but his ridiculous wages are bound to be a major stumbling block

Conte has had a long standing admiration for Lukaku dating back to his Everton days and he even tried to sign him for Chelsea a couple of years ago, only to have the deal hijacked by the Red Devils. He knows exactly what he provides and in Conte's 3-4-3 system he likes to have a physical presence in attack, at Juventus he had Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata, whilst at Stamford Bridge he had Diego Costa to call upon.

So if anyone is able to get the best out of him then it appears to be Conte. Inter must've promised him funds to tempt him to take the job and with the departure of talisman Mauro Icardi looking like a real possibility, they could generate the funds to get this one over the line which will be music ears to Manchester United fans.

The window and Conte's reign is still young so this could prove to be something of a saga over the summer, but if United were to receive a big offer for Lukaku they would definitely consider it. Will Antonio finally land his man?