This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking to The Manchester Evening News, former Manchester United midfielder Kleberson has suggested losing Romelu Lukaku this summer would be a “big loss” for the Red Devils.
Serie A giants Inter have been touted as Lukaku’s most likely destination were he to depart but Kleberson believes the 26-year-old still has plenty to offer.
He said: “I’m a big fan of Lukaku, he’s a great player. When you think about coaching, everyone wants to take him, he is a very good player to have in the squad. Whether he starts games or is on the bench, he will always help the team to score goals.
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“Strikers survive on goals and statistics, it’s tough. The season changed so quickly for him, if players prepare mentally in the preseason, he may find his feet again. I hope he decides to stay at Manchester United for one more year and proves his worth.”
At 26-years-old, Lukaku should be entering the prime years of his life. When United bought him from Everton in a big-money deal, the expectations were that this could be a striker who could consistently bag 20-30 goals a season and take the side back to where they once were.
Instead, the towering forward has barely looked like he has improved since his fruitful time at Goodison Park. The same questions over his consistency and work ethic are being asked, and for a man of his experience at both club and international level, it is quite concerning to see why the penny just hasn’t quite dropped yet.
Indeed, his goal-record last season felt rather inevitable. As much as the side around him were struggling, Lukaku looked a shadow of himself and not once could you have imagined him going on one of those notorious hot streaks in front of goal.
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It was perhaps damning that United’s best performances under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came when Marcus Rashford started up top, like against Tottenham at Wembley. They were electric, energetic and irrepressible. Not something that you would ever associate with Lukaku.
So whilst Kleberson’s hopes of the Belgium international rediscovering his form are admirable, it’s perhaps for the best that both United and Lukaku go their separate ways this summer.