Reports emerged recently that 24 year old Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku had completed his medical for his destined move to English powerhouse Manchester United.
In the Premier League, his goal scoring stats have been quite staggering. Since the 2013-14 season, he has notched up 85 goals for both West Brom and Everton. He has come off the back of a stellar 2016-17 season, scoring 25 goals in the top flight.
Going by these numbers, Manchester United supporters have been going into meltdown over the past 24 hours, hoping that the new $96 million signing will be one of the final pieces in the jigsaw for Jose Mourinho who is in search for the domestic league title.
Despite Lukaku’s impressive performances, he will not succeed at his new club.
With all due respect, Everton is a small club which likes to counter attack at every given opportunity. This has given Lukaku the freedom to run in behind defences and provide space for himself to score most of his goals.
At Man United, that’s not going to happen.
Mourinho’s side will be a team which likes to move the ball around and create little one-twos in tight spaces in and around the penalty area. This is his main weakness, as he isn’t mobile enough to make room for himself to give him shooting chances.
Being able to hold up the ball is another weakness that United will have to try and improve on in his game. Lukaku’s first touch is abysmal, making him unable to bring others around him into the game and provide chances in front of goal for others.
Every club Mourinho has managed throughout his career has seen a strong forward who can hold up the ball. The likes of Diego Costa, Diego Milito, Benni McCarthy and Didier Drogba were able to do just that, which also helped him win trophies as big as the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan.
Let’s face it, Lukaku was playing with no pressure at Everton with expectations of a mid-table finish every season. He was hardly ever criticised in the media and was able to adapt to his own favourite playing style.
The mentality aspect needs to be a lot stronger, as he has to produce week in week out whether it be in the Premier League or the Champions League. He can’t expect to get away with scoring goals just against the lower teams. He needs to produce consistently against the big boys as well.
With a huge price tag placed on Lukaku’s shoulders, it has been proven in the past that it is so easy to give in to high amounts of pressure and expectations.
Paul Pogba ($105 million) and James Rodriguez ($91 million) are perfect examples. They have underperformed since their big money moves to Manchester United and Real Madrid, which is what I fear for Lukaku the most.
We have to remember also the reasons as to why Jose Mourinho sold the Belgian in the first place when at Chelsea for $25 million.
Those reasons include the ones that have been mentioned.
Obviously though, Lukaku’s strengths such as his power and goal scoring ability have changed Mourinho’s mind about the player which makes him feel as though he has the right tools to succeed at Old Trafford.
Romelu Lukaku is a capable player with a lot of potential and has time on his side to grow and develop. It’s just those negatives that are going to stop him from being a world class player and succeeding at Manchester United.
This transfer will prove out to be a disappointment.