In July 2017, most Manchester United fans would have been feeling very excited about their new acquisition in the form of Belgian striker, Romelu Lukaku. Jose Mourinho had previously worked with Lukaku at Chelsea and wasted no time in bringing the then 24-year-old to Old Trafford to bolster their attack for around £75 million. Not many would have predicted that only 16 months later, the Belgian would be struggling to hold down his place in the team and go on a two-month scoring drought. So, where has it gone wrong for the big Belgian?
After starting his professional career at the age of 16, Lukaku impressed right from the off at Anderlecht in his native Belgian, scoring 33 in 73 games in the league. By this stage, he was only 18 and it came as no surprise when Chelsea came calling. After failing to break into the Chelsea team in the 2011-12 season (his first season there), he spent a year on loan at West Bromwich Albion scoring 17 in 35 league games. Still failing to get a spot in the Blues team, he went on loan to Everton for the 2013-14 season and scored 16 times for the Toffees in the Premier League which led to him moving to the Merseyside club on a permanent basis in the summer of 2014.
The tall and powerful Belgian endured an indifferent campaign during the 2014-15 season, scoring only ten times in the Premier League as Everton finished 11th. Despite this, Lukaku began to discover his best form from the start of the following season, virtually all the way until the end of the 2016-17 season. Lukaku ended his time at Everton with a total of 87 goals and secured a well-deserved move to Manchester United.
After his much anticipated league debut against West Ham United in August 2017, Lukaku was already becoming a fan favourite as he scored two goals in a 4-0 win. At the end of September, he had scored seven goals in seven league games. Questions were still being asked about Lukaku’s style of play, particularly with his supposed poor ‘first touch’ which he received a lot of criticism for. He gradually tailed off as the season went on and only ended the 2017-18 campaign with 16 league goals but did manage to get 28 in all competitions and get his 100th Premier League goal in the process.
Lukaku had a strong World Cup, scoring four goals for Belgium as his country secured a third place finish. The 2018-19 Premier League campaign beckoned and Lukaku would have been hoping to push on after the previous season. So far, it has not been the case for the 25-year-old. A number of missed chances early on in the season have clearly had a negative impact and have dented his confidence. Many have criticised his fitness and mobility, which has never been an issue in the past for Lukaku but after being almost ever-present in the Premier League since the start of the 2012-13 season, is the Belgian starting to burnout, at the tender age of 25?
Another possible reason for Lukaku’s poor form have largely been cited for his team’s style of play. His manager, Jose Mourinho continues to defend him and pick him in the side but is he the right manager to get the best out of him?
Where has it gone wrong for Lukaku? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @AllOutFootball_ using the hashtag #AOF!’
featured image credit Sky Sports