Can Lukaku’s strengths outweigh his weaknesses to make him an Old Trafford hit?
Romelu Lukaku is on the verge of completing a £75m switch from Everton to Manchester United. The Belgium international, who was directly involved in 50% of Everton’s Premier League goals last season, is reported to have undergone his medical in Los Angeles, so what exactly can the United faithful expect from him?
During Manchester United’s 2016/17 campaign, we highlighted how a lack of a killer instinct was hampering the Red Devils’ progress under José Mourinho and this situation persisted until the end of the season. However, it now seems that the wily Portuguese coach is about to address that particular problem.
United’s finishing from clear-cut shots on goal situations simply wasn’t good enough and it’s summed up perfectly in the Oulala infographic below.
Despite having a terrific breakout season in England, veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimović was guilty of squandering his fair share of chances. His conversion rate of just 14.8% was way down on Lukaku’s 22.7% and it is significant that the latter has improved in this area of his game with every passing season.
Mourinho has a preference for phsyically-imposing players and Lukaku certainly ticks all the right boxes in that respect. Even though he may be 2 inches shorter than the Swede, who stands at 6′ 5”, he certainly makes up for it with his raw power.
His pace is also a tremendous asset and coupled with the explosive speed of Marcus Rashford, United will now have arguably the quickest attack in the Premier League. This is surely one area that Mourinho will look to cash in on, especially in games where he is happy for his side to soak up pressure and hit on the counter.
However, there are flaws to Lukaku’s game. He has been criticised for his work-rate, lack of movement and poor pressing. This can be frustrating at times and it is highly unlikely that the Old Trafford crowd would be prepared to tolerate such antics, bearing in mind that they are used to seeing Wayne Rooney averaging over 11km per game!
The other area for concern is the big forward’s first touch and it has already been highlighted on Social Media. The likes of Twitter and YouTube can be unforgiving places at times and there are already collections dedicated to this area of Lukaku’s game, so it is clearly not one of his strong points!
Now we are not saying that Lukaku couldn’t trap a bag of cement but the United faithful have been blessed with seeing the likes of Ibrahimović and Paul Scholes down the years, players who could both bring the ball down on the proverbial sixpence!
It will therefore be fascinating to follow his early season progress. Even though his recent antics in Beverley Hills suggest that he is accustomed to loud noises, this could pale into insignificance if he gets off to a bad start and the United faithful decide to give him the bird!
Will Romelu Lukaku be a Old Trafford hit or will it prove a step too far for the 24 year old?