Football News

Romelu Lukaku: ‘I could have stayed at Man Utd – or joined Juventus years ago’

By Harry Edwards

Published: 12:38, 21 March 2020

Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku has revealed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted him to stay at Manchester United last summer.

The Belgium left Old Trafford for the San Siro in 2019 after failing to really settle at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho and then Solskjaer.

Lukaku was signed by Mourinho in 2017 as the Portuguese looked to rebuild a side that was still struggling to return to the heights of the team left by Sir Alex Ferguson upon his retirement.

Lukaku a success at Inter? Five things to know…

  • Romelu Lukaku joined Inter Milan from Manchester United in the summer of 2019 in a deal reportedly worth up to £74m.
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted him to stay at United, the player has since said.
  • Across all competitions, Lukaku has scored 23 goals in 35 games for Inter, who trail in third in Serie A by seven points but have a game in hand.
  • Those goals include the fastest scored in Serie A this season (21 seconds) and strikes in both of his first two Milan derby matches (Lukaku is one of only six players to do so).
  • Only Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more Serie A goals than the former United striker this season.

In his final season at Everton, Lukaku scored 25 goals in 37 Premier League appearances. This figure dropped to 16 in 34 at Manchester United, however. He then followed that up with 12 in 32 during what appeared to be his final campaign at Old Trafford.

Lukaku has already bettered both of those tallies in his debut campaign with Inter, rediscovering his form to score 17 goals in 25 Serie A appearances so far. Only Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo have managed more in Italy’s top flight this season.

Back to his best and enjoying football once more, Lukaku has revealed Solskjaer tried to persuade him to say at Manchester United last summer. However, to the Belgian his time at Old Trafford was already over.

“One bad year can happen to everybody, and I was done,” he said in an interview on Ian Wright’s YouTube channel.

“It was a difficult situation.

“I had to make a decision over going 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 it 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.”

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‘Antonio Conte swayed Inter decision’

Although Lukaku’s mind was made up on leaving Manchester United, the Belgian admitted there were two choices for his next club.

The first was Juventus, who had been searching for a new striker, and Lukaku has revealed he was close to joining the Serie A leaders. However, the interest from Inter Milan and Antonio Conte – who had tried signing him before – made Lukaku’s mind up.

“I was close, really close [to joining Juve], but my mind was always set on Inter and the manager,” he said.

“As a kid I looked up to Adriano, Ronaldo and [Christian] Vieri.

“Obviously when Inter came – and the manager Conte wanted me at Chelsea and Juve as well – I wanted to go there and see what it was like, keep my head down and work.”

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