Why Manchester United need Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku would be a welcome acquisition from Manchester United this summer.
There have been plenty of rumours surrounding the future of Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Last summer, the Sweden international signed a one-year contract with an option for an extra year when the time comes to it.
Now, in April, the time is edging closer to decide whether Ibrahimovic wants in on one more year or to move to, presumably, America.
There have been notable suitors for Ibrahimovic, in particular: LA Galaxy. The MLS club was one of the first clubs to offer the former Paris Saint-Germain forward a lucrative contract when his deal with the Paris giants was up.
However, Ibrahimovic chose to join United and sounded optimistic about his future at Old Trafford.
“I want to do great as long as I’m here, so let us see, there is a lot of time.”
The problem that Manchester United have in regards to the striker is that, if he decides to pack his bags and leave Manchester this summer, they will be left with only Marcus Rashford.
While the England international is a very capable striker, he is still only 19-years-old. Age has never stopped anyone, but to lead a club as big as Manchester United to titles and success is a burden that only so many can hold on their shoulders.
It would be unfair of José Mourinho to hand the goal-scoring responsibilities over to Rashford at such a tender age. The young Mancunian, in fact, hadn’t scored a Premier League goal since September until last weekend in the 89th minute against relegation fodder Sunderland.
What the Red Devils need this summer is a striker in-between the careers of Rashford and Ibrahimovic. Someone who is perhaps coming into their peak and can not only help guide Rashford but also reduce the goalscoring responsibility from Ibrahimovic's shoulders.
Even if Ibrahimovic does not decide to leave this summer, that striker coming into their prime - or firmly in it - is paramount for Manchester United. Someone who offers something different to the Swede while also having the relevant experience of playing at the highest level.
Lukaku the perfect man for the job?
Romelu Lukaku is a name that springs to mind. An international player for Belgium who has experienced the pressure of a World Cup, European Championship and the Premier League. The only thing missing from his CV, in terms of appearances, is the Champions League.
Another one of Mino Raiola’s clients, Lukaku would join a list of four players at Old Trafford. The other three are Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic.
Lukaku, at 23, now needs to reach the next level. Playing at Everton is a good level, of course, but they are not in any European competition.
The Premier League is hugely competitive to nail down a first-team position, but the young striker would be very much welcomed at Manchester United.
At some point, given that he is 35-years-old, you would expect Ibrahimovic to start slowing down. While his scoring form has been superb, it is evident to see that he is not a striker who closes down and presses the opposition. Perhaps something that United are currently missing.
And while Rashford does offer you the sheer pace in behind the last man and expansive game, as noted before, he is too young to be in charge of the goal-scoring duties for Mourinho’s side.
So, in comes Lukaku. A 23-year-old already experienced striker to help transition the departure of Ibrahimovic and rise of Rashford.
However, the Everton forward will not be a cheap acquisition and is likely to be over the £50m mark. He might have only two years left on his current contract, but he is Premier League proven and the Merseyside club will not sell for anything less than £50m.
There are hesitations over Mourinho and Lukaku’s relationship; however, it is widely reported that it was not the Portuguese boss’ move to sell the centre forward at Chelsea. That decision was made by the club officials at the club which are in a more powerful position than Mourinho.
Lukaku would be a welcome addition to Manchester United fans and one that is needed to help Ibrahimovic and Rashford. He can be the glue that gets the Red Devils firing on all cylinders.