Tag Archives: Romelu Lukaku

Chelsea vs Lille – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In an intriguing tie we’ll see the current holders Chelsea take on French league champions Lille in a tie that would be expected to go one way but could well go the other.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

Last season’s winner and the current World champions Chelsea had a pretty good group stage, but defeat on the final day to Juventus cost them the top spot.

Tuchel’s side claimed four wins and a draw from their first five games, including a memorable 4-0 win against the Serie A giants with an excellent record of just four goals conceded.

Lille on the other hand claimed top spot in arguably the weakest group of the first round, pipping RB Salzburg, Sevilla and Wolfsburg to the berth.

Jocelyn Gourvennec led his side to three wins and two draws including wins away to Sevilla and Wolfsburg to claim their path into the last 16, also conceding just four goals throughout the group stage.

In comparison though, Lille only managed seven goals across their six games while Chelsea scored more than double that with 13.

Team news

Chelsea are still struggling with some injury problems, with wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell not yet fit. Mason Mount won’t be fit for the first leg but Cesar Azpilicueta could return to the team after missing the weekend win over Crystal Palace.

Romelu Lukaku’s form is in the gutter, but Tuchel is likely to stick with the Belgian in the hope that he can play through it and find a goalscoring streak ahead of the weekend’s Carabao Cup final.

Lille are at almost full strength for the tie, with the only absentee expected to be former Manchester United attacking midfielder Angel Gomes.

The youngster was forced off injury in their latest Ligue 1 game and is now expected to miss the game, while Orestis Karnezis will miss the game.

All of Andre, Renato Sanches and Xeka are competing to start in midfield, with the former two likely to get the nod.

Breakdown and Prediction

Chelsea have moved away from their 343 formation since their wing-backs suffered with injuries, and Tuchel has since gone with a 433 formation to get back to winning ways.

They still look to keep the ball for the vast majority of the game and attack down the wings but without Mount they’ve lacked that attacking mind in midfield recently.

I expect Tuchel to move back to his 343 for this game if Azpilicueta and/or Callum Hudson-Odoi are fit again, playing as the right wing-back with Marcos Alonso reinstalled at left wing-back after his assist at the weekend.

Lille will try to soak up the pressure with their usual 442 system and try to counter with the pace of Jonathan David in attack.

Realistically they will struggle to make that effective, because it’s exactly what Chelsea are set up to play against. Lille have been okay defensively this season, but they’ve struggled to find the back of the net and have a negative goal difference in their domestic league.

Ultimately, this is Chelsea’s tie to lose. They have the better coach, better squad and if they’re on song then they should be able to win this tie relatively comfortably.

Chelsea 2-0 Lille
Lillle 0-1 Chelsea
(Chelsea to qualify 3-0 on aggregate)

Romelu Lukaku’s Chelsea comments not as crazy as fans are claiming

It seems like drama just follows Chelsea and Romelu Lukaku around wherever he goes, but he certainly doesn’t help himself sometimes.

The £97.5m signing from Inter Milan in the summer has scored seven goals so far for his new club this season, after going on a run of ten appearances without a goal before and after injury.

Now he has come out and publicly criticised his manager and new club for their setup, while revealing that he is hopeful of returning to Inter Milan one day to win more trophies with them.



In an interview with Sky Italia, Lukaku was quoted as saying he ‘wasn’t happy’ with Tuchel’s system but said he would ‘continue to be professional’ and give everything for the team.

The comments come at a time where Chelsea are struggling for form in the Premier League, dropping eight points behind Manchester City in the title race and question marks have been raised over the system Tuchel has employed.

The 3-4-3 system has brought great success already, with the Blues winning the Champions League and leading the way for much of this Premier League campaign so far.

But Lukaku has found himself in a target man role for a lot of his time at Stamford Bridge, something that has been made abundantly clear in the past is not his best or favoured role.

So it’s no surprise that Lukaku is unhappy about it, especially cosidering where he’s come from and what he was doing to earn the record breaking move in the first place.

The Belgian is quite clearly at his best when he is facing the goal and running at defenders into space, not with his back to goal,

While it’s more than fair that Lukaku should be able to voice his concerns, he shouldn’t be doing it in a public forum.

It has now been revealed however that this was an interview conducted about three weeks ago, which makes the comments less worrying.

Lukaku revealed after the game against Aston Villa that he and Tuchel had some talks to iron some issues out and that they were sorted now.

Even still though, the timing of the remarks and the way he has gone about it is really poor on his part.

Some Chelsea fans have reacted with anger, but Lukaku has every right to complain if he feels he isn’t being used correctly and can be doing better.

He has always been a player that has adored Chelsea and has always been outspoken. It’s not that deep for him to want to better himself, and therefore the team, but maybe he should think twice about the way he does it in future.

Italy vs Belgium – Euro 2020 quarter-final predictions

It’s been a fantastic tournament so far and we’re now entering the business end of the competition as the quarter-finals roll around.

England, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Denmark have all made it into latest round of the competition with highly entertaining wins and now we have four sets of incredible ties to come to see who makes it to Wembley for the semi-finals and final.

In the best tie of the round, the only team left in the Euro 2020 competition with a 100% record inside 90 minutes Belgium take on one of the favourites in Italy.


Route to the final:

Italy came through their group unscathed with 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland before a 1-0 win over Wales with a heavily rotated side. They then met Austria in the last 16 and were taken to the limit in normal time, before Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina scored in extra-time to earn a 2-1 win after 120 minutes.

Belgium were also dominant in their group with a 3-0 win over Russia, before coming from behind to beat Denmark 2-1 and then defeating Finland 2-0 in the final game. That set them up with a round of 16 clash against reigning champions Portugal, where a Thorgan Hazard screamer on the stroke of half-time earned them the win in a close fought game.


Team news:

That game didn’t come without it’s problems though, as both Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard picked up injuries that forced them to come off the pitch and they are now severe doubts to start the game against Italy.

That means Dries Mertens and Yannick Carrasco are likely to start for the Red Devils as they did in the opening game of the tournament, while Romelu Lukaku will continue in attack.

For Italy, they will welcome captain Giorgio Chiellini back from a minor hamstring problem that saw him miss the win over Austria. Marco Verratti is likely to retain his place in the team over Manuel Locatelli, while Chiesa is expected to get the nod over Domenico Berardi after his match-winning contribution last time out.


Predicted Lineups:

Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Jorginho, Barella, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne

Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Carrasco; Mertens, Lukaku, T. Hazard


Prediction:

It should be the tie of the round and could arguably produce the game of the tournament, which would be something after the last round.

Italy are the better team in my eyes. They are more organised, better defensively and have good quality going forward too. Belgium are still a very good team though, they’re not ranked number one in the world for no reason, but they don’t look the most solid defensively.

Normally I’d give Belgium the advantage because of the added individual quality they have that could separate a tight game, but with De Bruyne and Hazard both likely to miss the game that factor is eliminated.

Because of that I think Italy will be able to keep it tight at the back and in a fascinating, tactical encounter, they’ll come away with a win thanks to a set-piece goal.

Italy 1-0 Belgium

Antonio Conte leaves Inter Milan as exodus begins

After two seasons, a Serie A title and a Europa Legue final, Antonio Conte has left Inter Milan.

The Italian coach joined the club in 2019 and reached the Europa League final, losing 3-2 to Sevilla, while finishing one point behind Juventus in the race for the Serie A title.

He followed that performance up this season with a remarkable league run, winning the title for the first time since 2010 by finishing 12 points ahead of city rivals AC Milan.

But after the COVID-19 pandemic caused owners Suning International some really tough times financially, it was reported that Inter needed to make up to €70m worth of sales this summer to survive.

That meant that not only would Conte have no money to spend during this transfer window to bolster his squad, but that his team would get weakened considerably by the sale of a key player or two.

That was enough to convince Conte to walk away from the club, citing a lack of ambition and the two parties agreed on a mutual agreement that would allow him to leave immediately.

Sky Italia’s best reporter Gianluca Di Marzio was the first to break the news and revealed that the club have agreed to pay the former Chelsea coach €7m to leave immediately. He will be free to take another coaching role too, with no compensation required.

Inter will now look to hire quickly to replace him, with Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi and former Milan and Juventus manager Max Allegri among the favourites for the job.

As for Conte, he won’t be short on admirers either. Zinedine Zidane looks likely to leave Real Madrid this summer and Conte has revealed in the past that he was close to signing with the Bernabeu club, only for them to go in a different direction in the end.

After winning the title this season, his stock will be at an all-time high and Madrid will look for a quick replacement too. While it’s expected that Allegri will be their first choice too, if he opts to go for Inter then Conte would be a great alternative.

There is always the possibility of a return to the Premier League with Tottenham too. Spurs sacked Jose Mourinho last season, who has since gone on to join Roma for next season.

Conte enjoyed his time in England, winning the Premier League in his first season before winning the FA Cup with Chelsea before leaving after just two years once again. During that title winning campaign, the Blues had no European football to contend with and while Spurs will be in the UEFA Europa Conference League it should be easy enough to navigate with youth players if the club want to push for a real title challenge.

He would need assurances of cash to spend and that the club would be able to hold on to it’s stars, like Harry Kane, but if Daniel Levy can promise that then he will have a great chance at being able to bring in one of the top coaches in the world.

Conte is able now to move on from a job where he has done really well, without damaging his reputation by going out on a low. So whatever comes next will come with high expectations too, but he seems to thrive in that anyway.

Inter Milan crowned Serie A champions as Antonio Conte proves he’s one of the best

After 11 long years, Inter Milan are the champions of Italy as they were crowned the winners of Serie A on Sunday afternoon.

After a 2-0 win on Saturday against Crotone, Antonio Conte’s side needed Atalanta to drop points to seal the title and after seeing their goalkeeper sent off early on they eventually succumbed to a draw to concede the crown.

It’s the first time that Milan have been crowned as champions of Italy since Jose Mourinho was manager, when they won the treble back in 2010.

It brings to an end Juventus’ domination of Italian football after they won nine in a row, and it’s the man who started that exceptional run in Conte who has now ended it.

Conte won three titles in a row during his time as manager in Serie A with Juventus, before leaving and becoming national team manager after a falling out with the board. Conte then joined Chelsea after an unsuccessful spell with the Azzurri, winning the Premier League in his first season before winning the FA Cup in his second season and leaving following another bust up with the board.

He returned to Italy and took on the role of Inter boss, tasked with the job of overrunning the Juventus powerhouse he helped to create.

In his first season he missed out on the title by just a point to Juventus, but this year they have been relentless in their attempts to become champions. He has made the club’s record signing Romelu Lukaku one of the best strikers in world football, with the Belgian becoming the first player in league history to score 20+ and assist 10+ in the same league season.

He also managed to keep Lautaro Martinez at the club, while using his 3-5-2 system once again to provide defensive stability to a side that were leaking goals before he came in. He has continued to prove that he is a brilliant coach, using the likes of Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young and Arturo Vidal to help the team grow.

He also managed to reintegrate Ivan Perisic into the side, after the Croatian initially left the club on loan in Conte’s first season after believing the system the club were planning to play in didn’t suit him.

But he has adapted to the wing back role brilliantly and been a big help to Inter’s title push. He has built a brotherhood within the team and they created a mentality of us against the world once more, in a similar way to Mourinho all those years ago.

Whether you find his methods entertaining to watch, or question his taste in player when it comes to the transfer market, you can’t deny that Conte is one of the best in the world at what he does.

His next task will be to get some sort of European pedigree in his career, with the best he’s done so far being a losing effort in the Europa League final in 2020 when they lost 3-2 to Sevilla. His Champions League record is pretty poor and is something Inter will be hoping that he can boost as they go into the new season as the defending champions.

He wins trophies everywhere he goes, he drills his teams to master exactly what he wants and they get results. You cannot argue that this man is one of the best coaches on the planet.

Who should Manchester City sign to replace Sergio Aguero?

When the greatest goalscorer in the history of the club is getting ready to leave, some planning needs to go into his replacement.

After Manchester City and Sergio Aguero confirmed reports that the player will leave at the end of his contract this summer, all talk swiftly turned to who would be the best replacement for Pep Guardiola’s side to sign.

Aguero is almost guaranteed to go abroad, with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain the most linked teams for his signature, but whether they’re the best option remains to be seen. For City, the options on who to sign are much less frequent and will be much more expensive. So who is the best option?

The obvious two names that come to everyone’s lips are Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.

Haaland is a 20-year-old Norwegian international who already has an affiliation with the blue half of Manchester, with his father Alf-Inge being the former captain of the club. Erling was born in Leeds but brought up as a Man City fan due to his father’s playing career and there is a well known photograph of a young Haaland in a City shirt.

Borussia Dortmund v Sport-Club Freiburg - Bundesliga : News Photo

His profile fits the striker role well too, with goals galore coming in all forms. Whether it be left foot, right foot, header, tap in, scrappy or emphatic, Haaland has the finish in his locker and at only 20 he is impressionable enough for Guardiola to be able to mould any weaknesses or flaws he may have.

He has seemingly got a ‘win at all costs’ mentality too which will go down well, while physically he seems to be strong and mobile enough to cope with the Premier League. One issue in pursuing Haaland would undoubtedly be his price, with Dortmund likely to ask for in excess of £150m to part with the player this summer. City will think twice, especially with the knowledge that he has a release clause that activates next summer for less than half that amount.

That could lead them to the current Spurs hitman Kane, who reportedly could seek to leave north London if they fail to make the Champions League next season.

Rumours of Kane’s future have been rife for years but he has stayed loyal to Tottenham, even signing a new six-year deal with the club in 2018 meaning he will still have three years to run on the deal at the end of the campaign.

The fee to bring him to another Premier League club will likely be as high as any potential fee for Haaland, but it may seem a little more worth it.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-TOTTENHAM : News Photo

The England striker will be 28 by the time the new season begins and entering his prime. He is chasing several goal records, including being the most credible threat to Alan Shearer‘s all-time Premier League record and also Wayne Rooney’s England record.

But this season he has developed an entirely new side to his game, where the creative bones have come out as well as his clinical striker abilities. He currently leads the Premier League charts for assists and has shown a passing range that most midfielders would cry for.

This all round game would likely suit Guardiola’s possession-heavy approach more than just a pure poacher, but he is still more than capable of getting 20+ league goals a season and 30+ goals in all competitions.

The issue for Kane has always been fitness, with ankle and hamstring injuries plaguing him throughout his career and often causing him to miss large chunks of the campaign. While that isn’t too different from what Aguero has had to deal with during his City career, the huge price tag could put City off for that reason.

Who else is there? It now seems highly unlikely that Lionel Messi will be targeted in the summer, while Kylian Mbappe is more likely to stay put at PSG or move to Real Madrid than join Manchester City.

Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander : News Photo

Romelu Lukaku has been linked as a target and despite his goalscoring exploits in Italy it would be incredibly hard to picture him in a Guardiola team. As good as he is, stylistically they are like chalk and cheese and there is no reason for Lukaku to look to move away from Serie A considering how well he is doing and the fact he is about to win the league with Antonio Conte.

Antoine Griezmann could become available if Barcelona opt to offload him and his style could see him fit in very well at Manchester City. He is more of a technical playmaker by trade who prefers to play in a slightly withdrawn role, but is more than capable of being the most advanced attacker. City could also look at his former club Atletico Madrid for a potential move for Joao Felix who is reportedly unhappy under Diego Simeone.

The Portuguese wonderkid may actually be the best fit possible for Guardiola. He is capable of playing across the front line, dropping deep to link play, has a fantastic eye for goal, can dribble, beat players one on one and also has a great eye for a pass. He is young and coachable and while he would certainly be expensive, he’d probably cost less than Kane or Haaland.

City will have to go big in the transfer market regardless of who they opt to sign to replace Aguero, unless they choose not to replace his status and just replace his place in the squad. After all, they are about to win the league with their number nine Gabriel Jesus having only scored seven league goals.

Will Gabriel Jesus ever be good enough to lead the line for Manchester City?

With Sergio Aguero’s Manchester City career on pause right now, all eyes have been on Gabriel Jesus in a blue shirt.

The Brazilian forward has been tasked with leading the line in Aguero’s absence, with the club’s all-time top goalscorer leaving big shoes to fill while he’s been out with injury. The Argentine hasn’t scored a league goal for the club since January 2020 and has made just five appearances so far this season for a number of reasons.

Jesus has struggled to take his chance though, with manager Pep Guardiola often leaving him out entirely and opting for a makeshift system with no natural striker.

He started in Wednesday’s FA Cup win over Swansea, scoring his 76th goal in 174 games for the club in a 3-1 win to see them through to the quarter-finals once again.

While his record on paper looks relatively good for someone who’s been a back-up player for the majority of his tenure at the club, but when you break it down some more you start to realise that it’s probably not as good as it seems.

16 of those goals have come in domestic cup competitions, while 15 have come in the Champions League. Even of those 15 in the Champions League, only four have come outside of the group stages and none beyond the last 16.

He seems to be a bit of a flat-track bully when it comes to goalscoring, but that doesn’t make him a bad player. He’s got excellent movement, a great first touch, good hold up play, fantastic link play with his midfielders and is a good finisher when he gets into those positions.

But he doesn’t have that nose for goal that the elite strikers do. During his time at Palmeiras and even now for the Brazilian national team, Jesus gets fielded out wide with the license to drift in-field and link up with the other attacking players.

His long-term future at City shouldn’t be at risk because he’s more than good enough to be a part of the squad and perform well in certain games, but he can’t be relied upon to be the main source of goals for the team.

With the way Guardiola sets his teams up, they are sure to score goals throughout the campaign. But having that one man you can rely on in a tight game is key for all the top sides in the history of the game.

Jesus isn’t that guy and probably never will be, so don’t be shocked to see City go big on a striker this summer with Aguero almost certainly finished at the highest level in a sky blue shirt.

Time to give Romelu Lukaku his flowers

Romelu Lukaku is one of those footballers who regularly falls between the cracks when it comes to conversations about who the best strikers in the world are.

The Belgian has got flaws in his game, that is undeniable. His touch isn’t the greatest, his hold up play often gets him in trouble against the top sides and for someone with his size, he’s not the best in the air.

Focusing on those deficiencies however is to do a disservice to the 27-year-old.

He scores all types of goals, all the time. He is the current record holder for the Belgian national team, while only Zlatan Ibrahimovic has outscored him for Manchester United in a single season since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Add to that, that he has now become the fastest Inter Milan player to ever reach 50 goals for the club – doing so in just 70 games. That means he was quicker than the likes of Ibrahimovic, Christian Vieri and even the great Ronaldo, who was the previous record holder with 77 games.

So it’s crazy to see that people still question whether or not Lukaku is in the world class bracket of strikers.

Obviously everyone has a different definition of what is world class and what isn’t, but he meets all the criteria of mine.

He’s been scoring at the top level for years now, in different teams and different systems. He scores is unbelievable in a one on one situation against defenders and can finish with both feet and his head.

The former Everton man has also greatly improved his work with his back to goal, forming a great partnership with Argentine Lautaro Martinez up front under Antonio Conte.

Last season Inter missed out on the Serie A title by one point and lost out in the Europa League final. This year they are currently one point off the top of the table again, this time behind local rivals AC Milan, although they have crashed out of Europe completely after another poor Champions League group stage.

Despite all that, it’s time to start giving Lukaku the praise and flowers that he deserves. Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Ciro Immobile have outscored him in Serie A since he joined the league and he continues to strike fear into every defender he comes up against.

Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane are most certainly ahead of him in the rankings among the world’s best strikers, while you could include Ronaldo there too if you believe that to be his primary position these days. But beyond that, everyone else comes down to preference or fine margins.

A top striker who has flaws, but who doesn’t? Lukaku is world class and deserves all the credit for it.

Europa League Final: Sevilla vs Inter Milan – Prediction

The 2019/20 Europa League will finally come to an end tonight when Sevilla and Inter Milan meet each other in the final of a tournament that started over a full calendar year ago.

Antonio Conte’s side come into the fixture after dropping down from the Champions League into the Round of 32 and beating Ludogrets (4-1 on aggregate), Getafe 2-0, Leverkusen 2-1 and Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 en route to the final.

Julen Lopetegui has guided Sevilla through the entire tournament. They came out on top of a group containing Qarabag, APOEL and Dudelange where they won 5 out of 6 games. They then defeated CFR Cluj on away goals in the last 32 before beating Roma (2-0), Wolves (1-0) and Manchester United (2-1) in one-legged ties en route to this game.

Looking at performances in the tournament over the last two weeks, Inter Milan are surely the favourites to lift the trophy. Romelu Lukaku has scored in his last 10 consecutive Europa League games for Everton and Inter Milan, including a brace in the semi-final, while Lautaro Martinez seems to have found some form again since coming back into the side.

In defence, Diego Godin and Stefan De Vrij have been rock solid but the emergence of Alessandro Bastoni has edged out Milan Skriniar from the side. Ashley Young has cemented his place as the left wing-back while in midfield, Marcelo Brozovic and Nico Barella are now automatic starters. Christian Eriksen is often the third option in that midfield, although last time out Conte opted for Matias Vecino.

For Sevilla, their side picks itself currently. Sergio Reguillon will continue his strong form at left-back in what could potentially be his final game for the club with many looking to take him away permanently. Captain Jesus Navas has become a right-back in recent years and is a starter for the side, while Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde will start together in the centre. In midfield, Ever Banega will leave the club following this game to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab. Alongside Fernando and Jordan they will need to dominate the midfield areas to have any hope of winning this game. Ahead of them semi-final hero Suso will likely start but the man who scored the winner Luuk De Jong will likely start on the bench once again, with Youssef El-Nesyri picked ahead of him. Top goalscorer Lucas Ocampos will complete the team.

FBL-EUR-C3-SEVILLA-TRAINING : News Photo
Lucas Ocampos will be key to any success Sevilla have in the Europa League final

Sevilla’s style of keeping the ball, switching it from side to side and playing through balls down the flanks for cut-backs entirely suits the way Inter Milan play. Conte’s side will play with a deep block and will press in the wide areas then use the pace of Lukaku and Martinez to launch counter attacks.

With the form of the two teams, it’s hard to look past Inter Milan taking the trophy back to Italy with them. Lukaku is absolutely deadly in this system currently and with just one goal needed to match the record of his idol Ronaldo (R9) for most goals in a debut season for Inter he will be absolutely amped for the final.

I don’t anticipate the most exciting game of football ever on Friday night, but I expect a vintage Italian performance from Conte and Inter Milan in a 2-0 win for the Nerazzurri.

PICKS

Inter Milan to win 2-0 – 19/2 (BetVictor)
Romelu Lukaku anytime – 7/5 (BetVictor/SkyBet)

Romelu Lukaku: Why The Manchester United Divorce Had To Happen

When Manchester United splashed out £75million for Everton’s No.10 back in July 2017, it was met with a mixed response from fans, critics and ex-pros.

Lukaku was a certified goalscorer, scoring goals at every level no matter what club he was playing for. United had just lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic to a long-term knee injury and hadn’t yet decided to re-sign him to a new contract, meaning they were in desperate need of a new talisman to lead the line.

When he signed, Lukaku hit the ground running with 10 goals in his first 9 games for the club including in the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid. Then he went on one of his now annual droughts. Romelu has a period, every year and at every club, where he will go almost double figure games without a goal. He will miss chances and then eventually get back on the scoresheet before going on another run. He ended the season as their top scorer with 27 goals in all comeptitions, including 16 in the Premier League.

The following season was when we saw the beginnings of cracks in the relationship between Lukaku and the club. With Jose Mourinho struggling for results and Lukaku on the end of criticism for yet another goal drought, the fans turned on him. He was booed and even stopped celebrating goals that he did score.

Manchester United v Leicester City - Premier League : News Photo

One of the issues for Lukaku under Mourinho was that the team were not playing to his strengths as a striker. Lukaku has made a name for himself everywhere he has been with his excellent finishing ability inside the box but also the pace and power he has to run in behind defences and stretch them while drifting out wide. Despite that, Mourinho insisted on using him as a traditional target man – competing for flick ons and being asked to hold the ball up with his back to goal, despite a clear weakness in controlling the ball and linking up with others in the build up of moves.

So when Ole Gunnar Solskjær took over after Mourinho was sacked and said he wanted to get the opposition teams turning and facing their own goal when United attacked, it seemed Lukaku would fit in much better. But he was out of favour with the Norwegian manager. Ole’s preference was to go with Marcus Rashford as the striker for his pace in behind but also his ability to link with his teammates and float across the front-line in a fluid setup. Lukaku still performed well when called upon, famously scoring twice in the Red Devils’ famous comeback win against PSG in the Champions League.

At this point however, it was clear that Lukaku was now back-up. Regardless of what you think about Lukaku as a footballer, as a player who cost upwards of £75million with a goalscoring record like his, he’s too good to be playing second fiddle. After a long, drawn-out transfer saga in which Lukaku even trained away from the club and with his former side Anderlecht, United recouped their money and sold him on to Inter Milan where he was paired up with Antonio Conte.

Since moving to Italy Lukaku has so far scored 33 goals in all competitions, just one less than the legendary Ronaldo’s record of 34 for a debut season. Lukaku can match that record in their final game of the season after his brace helped the side make it into the Europa League final.

FC Internazionale v Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Europa League Semi Final : News Photo

He scored 23 Serie A goals, only behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Ciro Immobile and has become a leader in the dressing room as Inter missed out on the title by just a single point. Inter play a much more defensive style of football that is based on quick transitions, something that Lukaku thrives off and his partnership with Lautaro Martinez has seen the Argentine linked with a move to Barcelona to replace Luis Suarez.

But it hasn’t been all fun and games for Lukaku there either. His longest drought without a goal this season was only three games, but he scored just 8 times against clubs that finished in the top half of the table. With that said, it seems to be one of those moves where everyone has come out as a winner.

Inter Milan have a top striker in their ranks and the fee looks good based on his performances and numbers, while United made their money back on a player that no longer was part of the plans for the first team. Lukaku is now playing in a side that is essentially built to maximise his strengths as a striker, while also playing in a league that suits his style to a tee. United on the other hand, have been able to use Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial together, with both in their preferred positions. They’ve also been able to bring through Mason Greenwood as a first-team regular and all three players managed to score more this season for United than Lukaku did last year.

Both parties are better off without the other at this point and while neither side will look back on Lukaku’s time at the club with great fondness, it was something that needed to happen. Just like his move away was.