Cast your mind back to the summer of 2018. One transfer story dominated the back pages for what seemed like an eternity; Antonio Conte had just taken the reigns at Inter Milan following the dismissal of Luciano Spalletti in May. Fast forward to June and Antonio Conte had identified Romelu Lukaku as the clubs primary target, although, questions marks surrounded whether Inter were able to finance the move and whether Manchester United were in position to sell the Belgian striker. Could they find a suitable replacement?
“I always said Romelu was a rough diamond that needed work to smooth him out.”Antonio Conte retaliating on the ‘donkey’ comments
Further eyebrows were raised when Lukaku claimed publicly that Antonio Conte “is the best manager in the world”. Perhaps it was an attempt to push through the move and, after having multiple bids rejected, Lukaku eventually completed his move to Internazionale. His move paved the way for an out of favour, yet prolific Mario Icardi – he completed a deadline day loan move to Paris Saint Germain. The high-profile signing of Lukaku signalled a statement of intent and a bid to take Nerazzurri from top four challengers to serious title contenders…
Romelu Lukaku – Criticism at United
From the beginning of the 2012/2013 season until the end of the 2018/2019 season, Romelu Lukaku racked up a total of 113 premier league goals. This impressive tally was good enough for third place overall during this period, with the player only being outscored by arguably two of the greatest attacking players of the Premier League era: Harry Kane (125) and Sergio Aguero (141). Lukaku’s goal scoring prowess is undeniable. Nevertheless, he was deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who favours a more versatile and energetic attacking players to suit the sides counter attacking style.
The striker was known for blowing hot and cold during his time at United and his performances at times were laboured; Lukaku particularly struggled against the Premier Leagues top six with only one of his 42 total goals coming against a top six side.
Change In Fortune?
Romelu Lukaku is back to his best form. It’s not just the impressive goal tally that will have United fans questioning whether or not the club were right to sell the player. His all round game has improved drastically during the 19/20 campaign. This is especially notable in the increase of gametime the Belgian has seen; currently sitting at 84 mins per game. This is a significant increase on last campaign at United, where he averaged 67 minutes in the league.
At the time of writing, the powerful striker has featured in all 18 matches for the Nerrazzurri in Serie A, with 17 starts and one substitute appearance to his name. During his final season in Manchester, he featured a total of 32 times in the league, however, 10 of those appearances were from the bench.
Out and out strikers such as Lukaku are always going to be measured by goals and the number nine has already surpassed his total of 12 from last year with 14. Not bad for the second top goalscorer in the league, behind Ciro Immobile of course (19). Both strikers are in sensational form and the race for the Serie A golden boot could go right down to the wire…
What’s next for Lukaku?
Romelu has settled in well in Italy and formed a deadly partnership with Argentinian Lautaro Martinez; the pair will likely hold the key to success for Antonio Conte’s team as he looks to win the Scudetto at the first time of asking. With Euro 2020 fast approaching, Lukaku will be hopeful of maintaining his deadly goal scoring form on the international stage and help Belgium go one (or two) better than in Russia. Let’s just hope Romelu Lukaku keeps firing on all cylinders…
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