Romelu Lukaku has revealed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted him to remain with Manchester United, though he had made the decision to pursue a fresh challenge elsewhere. The Belgium international’s future was the subject of constant speculation during the summer and he eventually made the move to Inter Milan before the Premier League transfer deadline.
Lukaku has since impressed for the Serie A giants with nine goals from just 12 league appearances and he has spoken about his respect for Solskjaer, who initially wanted him to stay put at Old Trafford, he told: “Solskjaer has my eternal respect. He understood me when I said in March that it was time for me to leave England. I have been in the Premier League as an 18-year-old boy and now I am 26. Solskjaer wanted to keep me, but I was ready for something new.”
Solskjaer had sought a replacement for Lukaku before the Premier League transfer deadline and Mario Mandzukic was much fancied to join the Red Devils. However, a deal never materialised before the transfer window shut but there has nonetheless been constant speculation that Mandzukic could make the move at the turn of the year.
The Croatian has completely fallen out-of-favour at Juventus following the arrival of Maurizio Sarri over the summer and reports have emerged that he is determined to join United when the transfer window reopens. The 33-year-old won’t be guaranteed with regular gametime with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford flourishing of late but he appears keen on proving himself in the Premier League during the final stages of his playing career.
United are currently nine points behind Manchester City, who are holding the final Champions League qualification position. They return from the international break with a testing encounter at Sheffield United. The Blades have been one of the surprises packages this term and they are currently one point ahead of the Red Devils after 12 games played.