In this player profile piece, new Feudalist Nekzad Bajan (follow him on twitter @nekzaDd) looks at Romelu Lukaku, who will be hoping to kick on to the next stage of his football development at Old Trafford. Do you feel he will get even better? Or perhaps you feel that the big stage and the pressure which comes with his lofty pricetag will have a negative effect on his play? What effect do you believe his signing has on the outlook for his United team-mates, especially Paul Pogba?
Manchester United announced the signing of striker Romelu Lukaku on 10 July 2017. The deal brought the Belgian to Old Trafford from Everton for a rumoured fee of £75m. United moved covertly to capture a player who has blossomed into one of the most prolific and rampant strikers in the Premier League over the past few years.
The Belgian was a product of the Anderlecht youth academy and made his first-team debut in May 2009. He racked up 31 goals and 12 assists over the next two seasons, including the play-offs. Chelsea splashed the cash on the Belgian prodigy in the latter part of the 2011 summer transfer window. However, Lukaku did not manage to gain a spot in the first team, being handed just a single start in the season. He was then loaned out to West Brom in 2012-13 delivering 17 goals along with 7 assists for the Baggies. He returned to the Bridge next summer but again could not make his mark for the Pensioners. Loaned out to the Toffees, he managed to get 15 goals and 9 assists.
After making the switch permanent in the summer of 2014, Lukaku bagged 28 goals and 13 assists over the next two seasons. Last season, in Dutch legend Ronald Koeman’s first season in charge, Lukaku fired 25 goals with 6 assists making him one of the most reliable goalscorers in the Premier League. On the international stage, the striker made his debut for the senior side back in 2010 and has scored 20 times in his 57 appearances.
In the Premier League last season, only two United players managed to score more than 5 goals – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (17) and Juan Mata (6). As a result, the Reds needed attacking reinforcement and there could not be a better option than the Belgian for the Premier League.
Standing six foot three, Lukaku is strong in the air and has the ability to hold up the ball, bringing team-mates into play. The Belgian also offers pace to the United attack which was something the Reds definitely lacked last season.
From a tactical perspective, Lukaku’s all-round game offers Mourinho much greater variety and United could therefore sit deeper and hit on the break more often against rivals. United’s attack certainly underperformed last season. A lack of cutting edge saw them placed at eighth in the division for goals scored, with just 54 strikes.
Lukaku is a proven talent in English football and hence needs absolutely no time to settle. He is priced at £11.5m in Fantasy Premier League. With Ibrahimovic and Rooney leaving this summer, the Belgian will be able to claim penalty kicks and that should add to his potential as an FPL asset.
The Belgian’s arrival is set to consign youngsters, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to their roles on the flanks again. The pair will be fighting for minutes along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata.
A really close friend of Lukaku, Paul Pogba was the Reds’ top creator last term with 57 key passes, although he managed to bag just four assists. He is a clinical finisher leading the line and his all-round potential looks to have drastically improved. With the recent signing of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea, Pogba will be able to play in the hole upfront rather than falling behind often as he did last season. Priced at £8m in the land of FPL, he is a great bargain as an attacking midfielder.
United have really tasty fixtures at the start with trips to West Ham, Leicester and Everton in the first five gameweeks strengthening Lukaku’s chances of making an immediate impression at Old Trafford.
The likes of Lacazette, Kane and Gabriel Jesus are offering some serious competition for our three-man FPL frontlines. As a result of this, the quest for value in midfield is going to be really very crucial this campaign.