Manchester: Romelu Lukaku was instructed to delete a controversial social media post revealing confidential details of Manchester United’s training statistics as the striker’s strained relations with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took another turn for the worse.
Lukaku took to Twitter on Friday to issue a firm riposte to those who claim he lacks pace by revealing the results of a running test during the Perth leg of United’s pre-season tour last month.
It showed Lukaku was second only to Diogo Dalot (36.43km/hour) with a maximum speed of 36.25km/hour and charted the speeds of 22 other United team-mates. The tweet was accompanied with the words “lack of pace” next to laughing and runner emojis.
But Lukaku’s decision to divulge such information publicly was dimly received by Solskjaer and the Belgium striker was ordered to remove the post immediately.
It comes as Lukaku pins his hopes on a move to Juventus or Inter Milan this summer. United are in talks with Juventus about a potential swap deal involving Paulo Dybala, although the Argentina striker is reluctant to leave the Italian club against his will and has reservations about a move to Old Trafford.
Antonio Conte, the Inter coach, is eager to sign Lukaku but the Milan club - who had a pounds 54 million bid -rejected last month - need to offload Mauro Icardi to be able to fund a deal.
Harry Maguire was undergoing a medical at United’s Carrington training ground as the England centre-half’s pounds 85 million move from Leicester nears completion and Solskjaer remains hopeful of bringing in another player or two before the close of the Premier League transfer window on Thursday.
Lukaku has played no part in any of United’s pre-season games this summer and was not in the squad who faced AC Milan in Cardiff on Friday.
His absence is officially being put down to an ankle injury but the player does not figure in Solskjaer’s plans and both parties hope a transfer can be -arranged.
Lukaku’s tweet also went down badly with some of his United teammates.
It had the unintended consequence of embarrassing Luke Shaw, who finished last behind Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic - neither of whom is known for his pace - with a speed of 31.03km/hour.
Mata saw the funny side and replied to Lukaku by tweeting: “Thanks for finally showing the world that I’m quicker than @LukeShaw23 bro.”
Shaw - one of the fastest players in United’s squad - was not thought to be running flat out as part of the test and the England left-back did little to hide his frustration with his reply, “They only wanted me to go 70% don’t let me start speaking on you boy”, followed by a pair of eyes and sad face emoji.
Uncertainty also continues to surround the future of Paul Pogba, who admitted publicly in June that he wanted to seek a new challenge at -another club amid a firm desire to join Real Madrid.
The France midfielder did not travel with the rest of United’s squad to Cardiff and there have been conflicting stories over the reasons behind his omission.
- The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2019