Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand insists the timing just wasn’t right during Romelu Lukaku’s ill-fated spell with the club.

The Belgian striker made 96 appearances for the Red Devils during his two seasons in Manchester, scoring 42 goals before leaving to join Serie A side Inter Milan in 2019.

Despite boasting an enviable record during his time at Old Trafford Lukaku was often the target of United fan’s criticism, however he was an almost instant success in Italy, winning the title with Inter in just his second season with the club.

The 28-year-old returned to the Premier League with former club Chelsea during the summer and already has four goals in seven appearances for the Blues across all competitions this season.

Ferdinand, who spent 12 highly successful years at Manchester United believes the club lacked the stability and framework needed for Lukaku to flourish during his time at the club.

"Sometimes it’s about the club fitting the player and the player fitting that club at the right time," said the BT Sport pundit.

"A lot of that is about timing, I think the timing wasn’t right for him at Man United.

"The stability they have now wasn’t there when he was there, I just don’t think it worked at the time. If it was now it would be very different, I think he’d be doing what he’s doing here (Chelsea)."

Ferdinand hailed Chelsea’s decision to sign Lukaku and believes the Belgium star has developed into one of the best strikers in the world.

He added: "This season Lukaku has come in from word go and finished anything that’s teed up, he’s been immense.

"He’s the focal point, Chelsea were looking for a focal point and he’s that guy.

“At the top level, he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net as good as anyone."