Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho ignored a warning about signing Romelu Lukaku from Everton in the summer of 2017.
Former Toffees chief Steve Walsh has revealed to The Athletic that he spoke to Mourinho about the transfer and warned him Lukaku was a ‘big baby’.
“You have to work out what you want and need,” he said. “Don’t try to attract players with no plan: ‘He’s available so we will take him.’
“Alexis Sanchez is a good example. During the title-winning season we only lost three times but two of those were against Arsenal. They pasted us at Leicester, 5-2. We played well and Jamie scored a remarkable goal, but Sanchez was outstanding that day. He was instrumental in both games.
“But it is not about collecting players, it is about having a clear plan and a strategy of how you want to play.
“When Jose signed Romelu Lukaku from Everton, I remember saying to him, ‘You have to be careful with Lukaku. He is a big baby, you know.’ He said he could handle him.
“I don’t think he really got Lukaku on-side mentally, which you have to do. That is the case with him and Paul Pogba. They aren’t my type of players. They are more about themselves than the team. I wouldn’t have touched them.”
This seems rather harsh on the Belgium international, who was a big hit during his time at Goodison Park and who has generally had a fine career at the highest level of the game.
Lukaku didn’t exactly hit top form in his time at Old Trafford, but has once again shone since leaving for Inter Milan this summer.
While there may be question-marks over his mentality as he seemed to lose confidence at United, it’s hard to take Walsh’s assessment that he’s a big baby particularly seriously.
Mourinho certainly seemed willing to gamble on Lukaku anyway, and he’s worked with some of the biggest characters in the game throughout his managerial career.