Romelu Lukaku made the switch from Man Utd to Inter this past summer, and it appears as though one key decision from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer helped make his mind up.
As noted by BBC Sport, the 26-year-old joined the Italian giants in a deal reportedly worth €80m, while he put pen-to-paper on a five-year contract.
Things have started well for the Belgian international in Serie A as he’s bagged nine goals in 12 league outings, which has been pivotal in keeping them just a point behind Scudetto rivals Juventus.
Should Lukaku continue his goalscoring form, it will potentially keep the Nerazzurri in contention, and so it looks as though the decision to link up with Antonio Conte at Inter was a smart move for the striker.
Speaking about the decision to leave Man Utd though, Lukaku has revealed that there was one specific tactical choice that Solskjaer was prepared to make which ultimately convinced him that his time at Old Trafford was coming to an end.
“It was after the game against West Ham at home, Solskjaer decided to line me up on the right wing, very wide. The experience in Manchester made me mentally stronger because not everything went as I had expected,” he is quoted as saying by Goal Italy, in his lengthy interview with Corriere dello Sport.
“I didn’t win what I was hoping for, my performance was not entirely positive and I didn’t even feel 100% wanted. Not so much from the technical staff or my teammates, but from the people around. So after the match against Chelsea, on April 28, the coach called me for a meeting and I told him what I thought and that I wanted to leave. He read in my face that I didn’t want to stay any longer and he replied that he didn’t want to hold anyone against their will.
“He understood my point of view and assured me that he would do everything possible to satisfy me. He earned my respect and, until I left Manchester, there was no problem with him. Even the management helped me. I also spoke with Ed Woodward and Matt Judge and everyone understood why I wanted to leave. It was a frank and honest conversation. There was no war, but the decision was shared. This is why the hierarchy at United and Solskjaer will have my eternal respect.”
It’s easy to understand why that decision may well have planted doubts in Lukaku’s mind about his future at Man Utd, as there is little doubt that he is more effective closer to goal through the middle, as evidenced by his form for Inter as their talisman up top so far this season.
In turn, it sounds as though he simply wasn’t the right fit for Solskjaer’s plan for Man Utd moving forward, and judging from the latter comments he makes above, it was an amicable split and one that has allowed the respective parties to continue to respect each other rather than part on bad terms.
Perhaps United’s bigger mistake this past summer though was to not replace Lukaku while Alexis Sanchez also left, as they’ve managed to score just 16 goals in 12 Premier League games so far this season which is arguably a key reason as to why they’re down in seventh place and nine points adrift of fourth spot.