LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 10: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on March 10, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)
Romelu Lukaku was a man who promised so much to United when he joined, but despite scoring 28 league goals for the club, he never truly proved to be the ideal fit as a Manchester United player.
Despite this, there seemed to be reasons to be cheerful with his arrival. He was the archetypal Jose striker. He was strong, athletic and good aerially. Furthermore, his form at Everton was magnificent, as he delivered 25 goals in the season before he left Goodison Park in an underperforming side.
Scoring 42 goals in all competitions within two seasons would suggest that his time at the club was an undisputed success. However, the statistics do not provide the full picture and he never truly proved to be the perfect Manchester United number nine.
This was highlighted by the suitability of the two most recent managers to the principles that the club possesses. Jose Mourinho was brought in for what was thought to be guaranteed short-term success at the expense of high throttle, expansive football and a lack of reliance on youth development. Ole is the complete opposite. Therefore, as Romelu Lukaku was generally more a Jose type striker, he was never going to be central to Ole’s plans at United.
This became clear during Ole’s run after Jose’s dismissal, with the Norwegian opting to go with the youthful exuberance of Rashford as a figurehead. Rashford, plus Martial this season, are vital to perform the press and win the ball high up the pitch. It is no coincidence that when the Belgian found himself back in the team, the intensity from the forward line in the press declined, albeit with fitness as another factor.
Ole may be bringing back the initiative with this team from a tactical perspective, reminding us of what we stand for as a club. Romelu was never that type of player, hence he has left this summer to Inter after a lengthy saga.
However, there is a concern with us losing consistent goals from our side. A replacement was looked at, but the club could not secure the signings of Paolo Dybala or Mario Mandzukic.
A lot of onus is now on the youthful Rashford, Martial and the prodigious Greenwood. It is huge pressure on them, but it is not something that Manchester United should fear as it is part of our identity. Sadly, Romelu Lukaku never fitted into that.