Romelu Lukaku will be a “big loss” for Manchester United, says Paul Ince, with the Red Devils taking a risk in “copying a Liverpool model” and parting with an old school striker.
A Belgium international frontman has been allowed to leave Old Trafford for Serie A giants Inter.
Lukaku has taken a proven record in the Premier League with him and those left behind at Old Trafford have opted against bringing in a like-for-like replacement.
Ince fears that could cost United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemingly taking inspiration from arch-rivals at Anfield when it comes to piecing together a new-look attacking unit.
The former Red Devils, Liverpool and Inter midfielder told Paddy Power: “It’s a tough one with Romelu Lukaku, because the fact of the matter is he is always going to score you goals. Last season you could see the signs that he wasn’t happy, that he wanted to leave.
"There were signs that the end was approaching for him, but what he does offer is guaranteed goals in the net.
"As a club, for United to suddenly lose 20 or so goals that he nets, that’s a big loss and they should have replaced him – his goals will be missed.
"It puts a lot of pressure on Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. In my eyes, for United to be performing well, Rashford needs to be netting 20-25 goals this season and I’m not yet sure if he’ll do that.
"I look at United and I feel like they’re almost copying a Liverpool model. They got Virgil van Dijk in and United got Harry Maguire in, and it seems they’ve gone for three forwards too, pacey players like [Anthony] Martial, [Jesse] Lingard and [Marcus] Rashford – I don’t see where Lukaku fits into that – so I’m not surprised Ole let him go.
"But that does put extra pressure on the younger lads to find the net. The fact is, Lukaku is a goalscorer, he’s always been a natural goalscorer but the ball has to be placed right in front of him.
"He has to be fed and he will score you goals, and I’m sure he’ll show that at Inter Milan.
"Having played there myself, it’s a great move for him. It’s a wonderful club and a wonderful place to live, it’ll be a great experience. The expectations will be huge on him because he’s come from United, and there’ll be nowhere to hide, but he should relish that."
Solskjaer’s side had no problem finding goals without Lukaku in their 2019-20 season opener against Chelsea, as they ran out 4-0 winners on home soil, but there will be tougher tests to come.