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‘Man Utd made a mistake letting Lukaku leave’ – Ince sees no suitable alternative at Old Trafford

14:50 GMT+3 14/09/2019
Lukaku Inter Lecce Serie A
The former Red Devils midfielder is surprised that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was prepared to part with a proven striker when doing a deal with Inter

Manchester United made a mistake letting Romelu Lukaku leave because they have nobody else like him in their striker pool, says Paul Ince.

The Red Devils sanctioned a switch for the Belgium international over the summer, with the £75 million ($94m) they paid Everton for the 26-year-old recouped in an agreement with Inter.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deemed the burly frontman to be surplus to requirements, with United looking to move in a different direction.

Ince is not convinced that the right decision has been made, with those at Old Trafford now lacking a prolific physical presence in the final third of the field.

The former Red Devils midfielder told Paddy Power: “When you look at United, you’d like to think that Anthony Martial would score more goals. You’d like to think Marcus Rashford would get more.

“Daniel James, he’s done really well and then there’s [Jesse] Lingard. So, if you can share the goals around between those three or four, if they get 12 or 14 goals each, then you’ll be okay for a season.

“But they’re not going to do that. Rashford only got 10 in the Premier League last season, and that was the highest outside of Lukaku!

“So, when you look at maybe [Sergio] Aguero, [Harry] Kane, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette, you see players who are 25-goal-a-season men. Man Utd haven’t got that now, but they had it Lukaku.”

Ince added, with United considered to be following the Liverpool blueprint when it comes to forwards: “It’s hard to get those strikers. They don’t grow on trees.

“Ole’s got to have a combination now. Could he have gone to Bayern Munich and got [Robert] Lewandowski – no. Could he go and get Harry Kane off Spurs? Probably not.

“There are people out there, but you have to be realistic.

“I said the other week that Man Utd – I wouldn’t say are copying the Liverpool way – but, they’re going with short forwards who have got pace, talent and speed. They’ve got the same type of players.

“There’s still time for them to grow.

“Sometimes I look at them, I think ‘yeah’, they could be great. Then sometimes I look at them and think, they’re not so great,” said Ince.

“It’s going to be an up-and-down season for United until they get the right personnel and the right team in place.

“They’re still a young team, and it’s going to take time.”

United opened the 2019-20 campaign with four goals against Chelsea, but have managed just three since and will be looking for an attacking spark to be rekindled in a home date with Leicester on Saturday.