Belfast Telegraph

Unprofessionalism is contagious: Manchester United right to sell Lukaku, say Neville brothers

 

Different class: Manchester United’s Class of ‘92 icons Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville pictured with TalkTalk’s Group Marketing Director David Parslow as the communications company yesterday announced a new five-year partnership with Salford City FC, which the ex-United stars now own
Different class: Manchester United’s Class of ‘92 icons Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville pictured with TalkTalk’s Group Marketing Director David Parslow as the communications company yesterday announced a new five-year partnership with Salford City FC, which the ex-United stars now own

By Simon Peach

Romelu Lukaku has joined Inter Milan from Manchester United - a move club greats Phil Neville, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes will not be shedding a tear about.

Two years after his big-money arrival from Everton, the 26-year-old has departed for Serie A in a deal that could reach £74m.

The Belgian has signed a contract until 2024 with the Italian giants.

He said: "Inter were the only club I wanted, because Inter is not for everyone.

"I'm here to bring the Nerazzurri back to the top."

United have included a sell-on clause as part of the deal that was completed yesterday after Lukaku arrived in Milan on Wednesday night to complete paperwork and a medical.

The exit has been a long time coming and a rather uncomfortable process, with a number of United favourites believing the deal is for the best.

Speaking as the club the ex-United stars now own, Salford City, signed a five-year sponsorship deal with communications giant TalkTalk, Phil Neville said: "He started well, didn't he? He started well.

"I'll be honest with you, I never felt as if he was a United centre forward. That was my feeling.

"But he started well, then obviously he lost a little bit of confidence and then found it difficult to get back up to form.

"I think there was always that feeling of was he fit enough?

"And was his style suited to playing football for Manchester United?

"That was my question.

"He'll always score goals wherever he goes. He'll score goals for Inter Milan.

"But the way you want to play, you've got to fit the right people on the bus and Romelu Lukaku was never that person."

Phil's brother Gary, meanwhile, was pretty cutting in his assessment of Lukaku in a Twitter post sent before the event.

"He admitted he was overweight!" Gary Neville wrote.

"He is over 100kg! He's a Manchester United player! He will score goals and do well at Inter Milan but unprofessionalism is contagious."

While not as pointed, Scholes does not believe that Lukaku suited former team-mate and current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's style.

"I don't think he was suited to Ole either," the former United midfielder said.

"Ole wants someone with a bit of energy, a bit of speed, someone who is going to work hard (but) he'll score goals."

There was a chance that Lukaku wasn't going to be the only departure from Old Trafford yesterday.

Everton made an approach for defender Marcos Rojo, but were ultimately unsuccessful in trying to bring in the Argentina international.

The Toffees were hoping to bring Rojo in on loan, but United were more open to a permanent transfer and a deal couldn't be reached.

Rojo has failed to live up to expectations at Old Trafford and has dropped further down the pecking order following the record-breaking £80m acquisition of Harry Maguire from Leicester City, which was completed on Monday.

United were also rumoured to be in talks yesterday to bring in Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, but by late afternoon it became apparent that no deal was likely to be reached.

So that means that England international Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James are United's only first-team acquisitions this summer, while Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera left the club at the end of their contracts.

Marouane Fellaini joined Chinese side Shandong Luneng at the start of the year.

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