Mark Hughes has tipped Romelu Lukaku to get close to Wayne Rooney's Manchester United goalscoring record.
The Belgium international has enjoyed a strong start to his United career following his reported £75million move from Everton, scoring three times in as many Premier League appearances.
Rooney, who returned to Goodison Park in July, scored 253 goals during a glittering 13-year career at Old Trafford, a tally that surpassed the long-standing record of 249 held by Bobby Charlton.
But Hughes believes that figure could be under threat if Lukaku stays fully fit and firing for Jose Mourinho's side.
"Logically, you'd say he'll go close if he gets a good run and steers clear of major injuries," said the Stoke City boss, who was twice a Premier League winner with United.
"If he wasn't fully established and had done well for one season, moved for big money then ended up on a stage like United, that would be difficult. But given his standing and career path now, in terms of every year being upwards of 20 to 25 goals, he's less of a risk.
"That's why they spent that money on him – because he's the real deal. Fees have escalated towards the end of the window, and Jose has mentioned himself that he's probably a bargain, if that's possible!
"They would see it as an opportunity to bring someone in who can lead the line for the next five to 10 years.
"On that basis, if you spread the fee over the length of the contract – or the time he's likely to be there – then it starts to look a fantastic deal for the club."
United, who have won their opening three Premier League matches this season, travel to Stoke on Saturday.
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