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Lukaku backed to fill Ibrahimovic void by Man Utd legend Hughes

Goal.com logo Goal.com 06-07-2017

Romelu Lukaku has been backed to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United by Mark Hughes.

The current Stoke boss knows all about the demands of representing the Red Devils, having taken in two spells at Old Trafford in his playing days.

He later took in a stint at Everton, where Lukaku has impressed over the course of the last four seasons with 87 goals in 166 appearances.

Hughes believes the Belgium international is capable of transferring their form onto a grander stage with United as part of a £75 million move and can help Jose Mourinho cope with the loss of 2016-17 talisman Ibrahimovic.

How Real rage drove Utd to Lukaku

The Welshman said on the Lukaku transfer saga: "It's been in the offing for a while it seems. There's been a lot of discussion in terms of which club he was going to go to.

"There's been a lot of talk about Chelsea but it looks like he's going to go to Manchester United. From the outside, it looks as though Everton have already been spending the money they're going to accumulate - it is a big chunk of money, you have to say.

"In fairness to the boy, for a number of years, he has been scoring regular goals at the top level of British football.

"Given that Manchester United have lost Zlatan, they clearly had to address that and they've gone for Lukaku."

Lukaku has refused to commit to fresh terms at Everton after stating his ambition to turn out in the Champions League and compete for major honours.

United would offer him that platform on which to perform, and Hughes is convinced that the 24-year-old could handle the pressure.

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He added: "It will be a different challenge for him.

'Lukaku is irreplaceable at Everton'

"Everton are a good club - I've played at both clubs. Everton are very much a family club, United - clearly since I left - it's gone on to become even bigger on the world stage and it's a huge entity now.

"Maybe he'll find a little bit of a difference in that but his day-to-day work will be similar and I'm sure he'll be a great success there."

Lukaku joined Everton in 2014 on the back of a productive loan spell for £28 million.

He has enhanced his reputation since then, with a forgettable spell at Chelsea which saw him granted limited game time erased from the memory bank after becoming a proven Premier League and international performer.

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