Romelu Lukaku says he made the decision to leave Manchester United in March, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanting him to stay on at Old Trafford. The Red Devils made their money back on the Belgium international striker when selling him to Serie A giants Inter for £75 million ($97m).
A summer switch has been questioned by many, with United having initially struggled for attacking inspiration without Lukaku on their books. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have shown signs of promise over recent weeks, but Solskjaer remains without a physical presence in the final third of the field. He had wanted Lukaku to play that role in 2019-20, with the 26-year-old tied to a long-term contract, but the decision to part ways had been made long before the summer window opened.
“Solskjaer has my eternal respect. He understood me when I said in March that it was time for me to leave England,” Lukaku told Het Belang van Limburg.
“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.”
Lukaku, who faced criticism at times during his spell with United, has enjoyed a productive start in new surroundings. Nine goals have been recorded in 12 games for Inter, with Antonio Conte finding a spark in the burly frontman.
Lukaku is enjoying worked under the former Juventus and Chelsea boss, with the Italian’s tactical approach considered to suit his game.
“I have had a good relationship with trainer Antonio Conte for three years and I know exactly what he expects of me,” Lukaku added.
“The first two weeks at Inter I worked very hard with the group and when my teammates got some rest, I trained individually.
“Thanks to my football intelligence, I integrated easily. We play in a system with two strikers and that suits me. Anyway, I already knew my team-mates in advance.”
Lukaku is currently away on international duty with his country but will return to domestic action with Inter, who sit second in the Serie A standings, when they take in a trip to Torino on November 23. Goal.com
Pix: Romelu Lukaku