Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Says He 'Happily' Let Romelu Lukaku Leave Manchester United

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2019

Manchester United's Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku (L) speaks with Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the UEFA Champions league first leg quarter-final football match between Manchester United and Barcelona at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 10, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he was happy to sanction the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan in the summer transfer window.

The Red Devils are short of options in attack, with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both suffering injury issues this season. As such, Solskjaer has had to turn to the likes of Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood to fill the void at the top end of the pitch.

The issues the team is having have prompted some supporters to question to decision to sell Lukaku without bringing in a replacement. However, Solskjaer said he had no problem moving on the Belgium international, per Husmukh Kerai of Sky Sports:

"I can say [I am a striker short], but that was the decision that I made and I made it happily. When you have players, [they may have] great potential, but Romelu's head was not here for us working forward as a group.

"I don't want to speak too much about other players. I have got lots of respects for Romelu but his time was up here. We are very happy with the recruitment we did. Towards the end the right one we just didn't get him over the line."

Solskjaer added he would prefer to "bite the bullet and wait" when it comes to bringing in another centre-forward because "you don't want to spend big amounts of money on something that you are not sure of."

Following a disappointing start to the campaign, Solskjaer recently said he's expecting an inconsistent season from his team:

Guardian sport @guardian_sport

Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjær: 'We're not in the 90s now so it's a different era, a different team, group we're building. We know there are going to be ups and downs. I'm ready to see these blossom – there aren't many clubs with our stature that play the young players' https://t.co/34UZBK9UwD

Ahead of their trip to Newcastle United on Sunday in the Premier League, the Red Devils have only scored nine goals in their seven top-flight games. 

They also drew 0-0 in the UEFA Europa League at AZ Alkmaar on Thursday. Per Duncan Alexander of Opta, they joined a select group of clubs not to have a shot on target in a Europa League game in recent years:

Duncan Alexander @oilysailor

Clubs who have failed to have a shot on target in a Europa League game in the past three years include Skenderbeu Korce, Zorya Luhansk, Osmanlispor and Manchester United.

Although Lukaku appeared to be keen to leave United, if he were still at Old Trafford, he could have been a big help to the team.

The former Red Devils star may struggle in general play and isn't capable of playing the high-pressing style of football Solskjaer is seeking to implement, but he's a proven goalscorer at the highest level.

Per football journalist Sam Pilger, in his time at United, Lukaku was their most likely source of goals:

Sam Pilger @sampilger

@ForbesSports As #MUFC struggle for goals, it is worth re-emphasising their problems are largely self-inflicted: they sold their biggest source of goals over the last 2 seasons (Romelu Lukaku with 42 goals) and failed to replace him. Simply banked the £75 million.

Following a move to Inter to work under Antonio Conte, Lukaku has looked reinvigorated. He's scored three times in the Italian top flight and has helped the Nerazzurri to six wins from their first six domestic games ahead of Sunday's huge showdown with Juventus.

While many United supporters would have agreed that the time was right to sell Lukaku, the decision not to replace him looks set to hinder the team for the remainder of the campaign.