In pictures: Man Utd v Aston Villa
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was told that he could have saved United millions of pounds this summer – if he had been more patient with former striker Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku endured a tough spell at Old Trafford and ended up leaving just two years into the five-year deal he agreed with United in the summer of 2017.
The Belgian managed 42 goals in 96 appearances for United but was often criticised during his time in Manchester.
But Lukaku thrived after sealing a £74million transfer to Inter Milan.
The 28-year-old revived his career during a productive spell in Italy, re-establishing himself as one of the most deadly strikers in the world with his goal-scoring exploits in Serie A.
That form persuaded Chelsea to give Lukaku another crack at being the main man at Stamford Bridge – with the Blues sanctioning a club-record £97.5m deal to recapture the Belgian this summer.
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His impressive start to life back in London, netting four goals in six games, has led to Sky Sports pundit Joleon Lescott claiming that United could have had the same player had they shown more patience with the ex-Inter striker.
“I think United would’ve got this product [Lukaku] if they were patient with Lukaku, I don’t think he’s gone away and improved that much to come back and prove a point,” Lescott revealed on BT Sport ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Manchester City.
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand also gave his take on Lukaku’s spell at United.
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“Sometimes it’s about the club fitting the player and the player fitting that club at the right time.
“A lot of that is about timing, I think the timing wasn’t right for him at Man United. The stability they have now wasn’t there when he was there, I just don’t think it didn’t work at the time.
“If it was now it would be very different, I think he’d be doing what he’s doing here.”
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It’s been well-documented that United were in the market for an elite striker this summer – and they finally got their man by splashing out on a deal to recapture Red Devils icon, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Borussia Dortmund goal-machine Erling Haaland had previously been earmarked by Solskjaer as the world-class forward capable of taking United to another level.
But Dortmund’s excessive wage demands scuppered any move for the Norwegian this summer – although that could change next summer.
There is still every chance that Solskjaer will still pursue Haaland next summer to play him alongside the Portuguese icon as he bids to steer United back to domestic dominance.
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