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Manchester United thought they were onto a winner when they landed Romelu Lukaku from Everton back in the summer transfer window of 2019. However, the Belgian lasted just two years before being offloaded by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. So, as the striker nears a return to the Premier League with Chelsea, it’s time to look at why he left the Red Devils.
Manchester United, two years ago, decided to cut Lukaku loose.
He’d endured a troublesome campaign under both Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer, only scoring 15 goals across all competitions having notched 27 the previous year.
With the United manager wanting his team to be quicker and slicker, he then decided to jettison Lukaku – who joined Inter for a fee of £73million.
And, speaking in August after the player’s sale, Solskjaer elaborated on his decision to let Lukaku go.
“Of course Rom has a good record and statistically he’s one of the top number nines around when you want to play with that kind of striker, a target man,” he said.
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Man Utd flop Romelu Lukaku is set for Chelsea transfer (Image: GETTY)
“But I’m very confident that we’ll get goals from Martial and Rashford. Dan James will create and Jesse Lingard will get more.
“It was time now for Rom to go because I think we got a good deal, he’s happy, so I think both parties ended that deal as it should be.
“Rom was injured for a while this pre-season and didn’t participate, so I just hope for him he’ll get a good start at Inter Milan.”
And he then added: “I can say [I am a striker short], but that was the decision that I made and I made it happily. When you have players, [they may have] great potential, but Romelu’s head was not here for us working forward as a group.
“I don’t want to speak too much about other players. I have got lots of respects for Romelu but his time was up here.
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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants summer transfer backing (Image: GETTY)
“We are very happy with the recruitment we did. Towards the end the right one we just didn’t get him over the line.”
Lukaku then revealed two months after his move to Italy that Solskjaer’s decision to change his role contributed to his departure.
“I first learned to speak Italian whilst watching my brother Jordan playing for Lazio on TV,” Lukaku told Corriere Dello Sport.
“Once I learned that [Ole Gunnar] Solsjkaer planned to put me on the wing, then I knew my time at Manchester United was over.”
Given how his time at United failed to work out, Lukaku could have been forgiven for holding a grudge against Solskjaer.
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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer allowed Romelu Lukaku to join Inter Milan (Image: GETTY)
But that isn’t the case, as the Inter star made clear when speaking in March 2020.
In a YouTube interview with Ian Wright, Lukaku said: “One bad year can happen to everybody in their career.
“It was just done for me. You know what happened behind the scenes, it was just done. For me, it was done.
“It was a difficult situation where for myself I had to make a decision where I have to go somewhere where I can learn other aspects of my game and work with somebody that wanted me as well.
“Ole wanted me to stay, but I told him I was over. I didn’t have the energy. All credit to him because he’s been a man and he helped me make the move away.”
Man Utd failed to see the best of Romelu Lukaku during his time at Old Trafford (Image: GETTY)
Lukaku then said at the time that Solskjaer was doing a ‘good job’ in the United dugout.
“They’re going the right way because they’re bringing in the right players,” Lukaku said.
“Ole is doing a good job and the results are going for them. I’m wishing them nothing but the best.
“It’s a club that gave me a platform that I’ve never seen in my life, so for me to be disrespectful about Man U or any other club I played for in England I think is a bit childish.
“I think I went past that stage of talking back to people.”