Romelu Lukaku has been savaged by former Old Trafford star Gary Pallister for “disrespecting” Manchester United.
The £75 million striker claimed during the international break he hopes to play in Italy – and that’s drawn criticism from Pallister, a four-time Premier League winner during his time at United under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Asked about the possibility of a switch to Serie A – where his brother Jordan plays for Lazio – Lukaku said “Why not? I hope it happens.”
There was no time-line attached by Lukaku who also admitted his admiration for Juventus, United’s opponents in the Champions League group stage.
But Pallister reckons the 25-year-old Belgian international was out of order speaking out about his future at a time when United are in turmoil after a poor start to the season.
“Real Madrid has always been the ultimate destination and if they come knocking even a club of United’s size can’t stop them.
“I think it’s disrespectful at times if you start mentioning other clubs when you’re actually contracted to the club you’re at” said Pallister, speaking exclusively to 888sport.
“If it’s in your mind I’ve got no problem with that but to put it in print I’ve got a problem with that.
“At a time when a club is under real pressure to have their leading goal-scorer say he’d like to move abroad – if that’s what he has done – is not the ideal scenario.”
Lukaku has scored four goals in eleven games for United so far this season but for Belgium he’s notched five in four games including both in the 2-1 Nations League win over Switzerland last week.
He’s also come under fire from former United legend Paul Scholes who said: “I’m just not sure you are ever going to win the league with a goal scorer like Lukaku. I don’t think his play outside of the box is good enough.”
As Jose Mourinho takes his stars to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Saturday Pallister reckons Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are United’s best centre-back pairing.
“Jose has gone on record as saying that he wants a dominant centre-half. He’s got good defenders there: just look at Phil Jones last season who was excellent until he got injured and then he struggled towards the end.
“Bailly got injured then fell out of favour. The physical side of the league has made things difficult for Lindelof and he’s still learning.
“Smalling is the one he seems to play week in, week out and from the rest you’d go with Bailly who can be a little bit rash at times but likes to defend.
“He maybe needs a calming influence alongside him but I love the way he attacks the ball and relishes aerial challenges and fifty-fifties.
“Smalling is very steady in what he does. He’s not a ball playing centre-half. He’s not overly aggressive. He’s a steady-eddie and sometimes that’s what you need.
“It should be remembered that last season United conceded the second lowest number of goals so obviously they’re not bad so Smalling and Bailly are the two that I would go for
“I’m not overly concerned with the back-four and it’s the midfield and attack that really need to click in order to take the game to opponents.”