Will Lukaku Flop as a Fantasy Option at Manchester United?
Having moved to Manchester United for £75 million, there is a lot of weight on the shoulders of Romelu Lukaku to succeed next season. Many other strikers who have moved to big clubs for big fees in the past have flopped – see Fernando Torres to Chelsea, Demba Ba to Chelsea, Andy Carroll to Liverpool – so, can Lukaku prove his fee to be worthwhile?
A lot riding on Lukaku
The fee aside, Manchester United pursued the signing of Romelu Lukaku instead of re-signing their top scorer of last season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Not only did he nail in 28 goals last season, but the Swedish sniper had also developed quite the rapport with world-record signing Paul Pogba who, once he had moved past his transfer fee, was able to supply Ibrahimovic regularly and add a bit of attacking potency from midfield.
However, Manchester United struggled when it came to scoring goals and converting chances. The Red Devils finished the 2016/17 season with the most big chances missed in the league, at 50. This wasn’t helped by an injury plague sweeping through the team, or having wingers who mainly opted to cut inside and shoot rather than cross the ball to a more accomplished scorer.
For Everton last season, Romelu Lukaku’s 26 goals accounted for 41.3 percent of the club’s total goals, scoring more than four times more than the nearest Toffee (Ross Barkley, six). With Lukaku as the focal point, attacks were funnelled to the big Belgian, and the team managed to rank with the tenth least big chances missed, at 28, through these tactics.
Now, Lukaku isn’t perfect – keep in mind that he’s only 24-years-old – and has been called out for his ball control on numerous occasions, but he’s still proven himself to be a top goalscorer in the incredibly competitive Premier League while playing for a team that sits outside of the top five. But Lukaku says that he’s ready to improve his game, which will hopefully lead to more goals.
Will Lukaku find success at United?
Coming into a team that has recently released their top goa scorer of the last season and their top scorer of all-time – Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney, respectively – Lukaku needs to be scoring from the get-go. His move has helped to stand Manchester United as the second-favourites in the Premier League betting to win the league at 10/3, and his goals will be crucial to their success in the seasons to come.
The Old Trafford residents were the best option for Lukaku regarding his success – and subsequently his fantasy success – as he will once again be the focal point, but presumably with more playmaking ability around him and more goal threats on the park. With Paul Pogba now settled back in and crafty playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan presumably ready to play a full season, Lukaku should be getting plenty of service. Then, players like Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, or Juan Mata can provide secondary scoring options.
Should Mkhitaryan play on the wing next season, as the Armenian predominantly did last season, United would do good to bring in a more attack-minded central midfielder to add to their goal scoring and assisting options. As of right now, however, Lukaku has certainly enhanced his chances of finishing as the league’s top scorer next season, as well as becoming an even more reliable fantasy option.