Los Angeles (AFP) – Romelu Lukaku revealed that his record move to Manchester United was inspired by Paul Pogba’s arrival at Old Trafford as he began training with the Premier League giants in Los Angeles on Monday.
A relaxed-looking Lukaku signed autographs for fans and posed for photos at UCLA’s Drake Stadium, where United are training this week as their five-match pre-season US tour gets under way.
The 24-year-old Lukaku joined up with the United squad just hours after his reported 75 million pound ($97 million, 85.5m euro) transfer from Everton was officially completed. The five-year deal — which will see Lukaku pocket more than 200,000 pounds per week — is a record transfer between two English clubs.
The Belgian international striker quickly got into the groove, taking part in passing drills with French star Pogba and other team-mates in blazing sunshine at the UCLA facility near Beverly Hills.
In his first interview since becoming a United player, Lukaku told the club’s television channel that his decision to seek a move to Old Trafford had come after seeing Pogba join the club last year.
Pogba and Lukaku, who share the same agent, are close friends and were on holiday in Beverly Hills last week together before the deal was completed.
– Pogba plays ‘big role’ –
Lukaku, who could make his debut in Saturday’s tour opener against the Los Angeles Galaxy, told MUTV Pogba had played a “big role” in his transfer.
“He is one of my best friends and he is my neighbour as well,” Lukaku said.
“We are always together on a daily basis so he would explain to me how things were going. Last season when he signed for United, to have witnessed that, it really triggered something in my brain and I knew that if one day I had the chance to sign then I would not say no.
“You just know and realise how big the club is, and the hunger it has to win trophies. I would like to say, at the end of my career, that I played for a team that has always challenged for trophies and this is what the club has always done.
“To be here now is a blessing and I will not take this opportunity for granted.”
Lukaku’s transfer reunites him with Jose Mourinho, who famously sold the striker to Everton in 2014 during his second spell in charge of Chelsea.