Neville hails Lukaku as perfect Man Utd replacement for Zlatan

Date published: Friday 7th July 2017 10:46

Romelu Lukaku is the perfect replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United, according to Phil Neville.

The Belgian frontman is set to undergo a medical after the Red Devils reportedly struck a deal worth an initial £75m with Everton.

United have been chasing a new number nine since Zlatan was released at the end of the season after suffering a serious knee injury.

And speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, Neville said he believes Lukaku’s speed will offer United greater versatility to their tactics and a chance to play on the counter-attack.

“I think you’ve seen an improvement, I think there were of couple of criticisms – can he play in big games? Can he score in the big games? I think he half dispelled that last season,” Neville said. “He scored in a couple of the big games and I think he is improving all the time.

“I think he’s a different type of striker from what United have had for a long time, someone that can probably run in behind, can be a little bit of a battering ram, that United can play on the counter-attack.

“I think with Zlatan last season United couldn’t play on the counter-attack because obviously his age and the fact his legs are slowing down a little bit. Now you’ve got someone with genuine, genuine speed that United can play on the counter-attack.”

Neville also disagreed with talk that Lukaku would struggle to fit in at United due to his history with Jose Mourinho, who sold him when he was in charge at Chelsea in 2014.

“It will be interesting to see how he fits into this United team because there’s a lot of talk about ‘Jose sold him, didn’t play him at Chelsea’, but that was four or five years ago,” Neville pointed out. “Romelu Lukaku is a different player now, he is a better player. His record actually is sensational.

“I mean 25 goals last year, 18 the year before. If you go back to his West Brom days when he was on loan there from Chelsea [he scored] 17 Premier League goals. If he gets anything like 17 to 20 this year United will be successful.”

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