Romelu Lukaku is on the brink of joining 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 is departing for Serie A in a deal that PA understands could reach 80 million euros (£73.75million).
United have included a sell-on clause as part of a deal that is close to being completed after Lukaku arrived in Milan overnight to complete paperwork and a medical.
The exit has been long a time coming and a rather uncomfortable process, with a number of United favourites believing the deal is for the best.
Phil Neville told PA: “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.”
Neville was speaking as TalkTalk celebrated a new five-year partnership with Salford City, with fellow part-owners Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville also in attendance.
The latter 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 Lukaku suited former team-mate 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.”
Lukaku could be followed out of the exit door on deadline day by defender Marcos Rojo. PA understands talks have been held with Everton about a loan deal for the Argentina international, who has dropped further down the pecking order following the record-breaking acquisition of Harry Maguire from Leicester.
A number of younger players could also be making temporary exits, but incomings look increasingly unlikely as the clock winds down.
Hope of a possible deal for Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic is dimming. Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James are United’s only first-team acquisitions this summer, while Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera left at the end of their contracts.
Marouane Fellaini joined Chinese side Shandong Luneng at the start of the year.
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