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For much of the last decade, Belgium international forward Romelu Lukaku has been talked about as a potential superstar in the making. He showed promising signs as a youngster at Chelsea and in a loan spell at West Brom. However, it was his spell at Everton that led to major excitement about his future. His form for the Toffees earned the striker a big-money switch to Manchester United.
Did not work at Old Trafford
Lukaku cost Manchester United a fee of around £75million when he joined in the summer of 2017. He arrived as the natural-born goalscorer that would help United return to the top of the English game. He was prolific at Everton and was expected to continue his form in Manchester.
There were question marks over his touch and his ability to perform in big games. However, there was a school of thought that Lukaku would improve upon his faults at United.
Instead, after a bright debut campaign at United, his development and indeed his career seemed to stall. He did enjoy a brief flourish when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reigns at United, but that was as good as it got for him in his last season in Manchester.
The strange thing is his goal record was not too bad, as he struck 26 times in 66 appearances. Considering he was out of favour in his last campaign with the club, plus the team was mediocre it was not a terrible record. Although maybe not that of a £75million striker.
Conte the man to help him regain his form
Prior to Lukaku’s summer move to Italy, it was common knowledge that Inter boss Antonio Conte was a big fan of the 26-year-old. The former Chelsea boss made it obvious in the media that he appreciated the striker’s ability.
Therefore, it came as little surprise when the Nerazzurri splashed out a club-record fee of around €80 million to sign the striker in the summer. On paper the move made sense. On the pitch, it has made a match made in heaven.
Lukaku craved love and wanted to be the main man in a team. His ego could not accept that he was not the be-all and end-all. Wanting to be the main man in any team is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it only works in the right team, with the right boss. In Inter and Conte, Lukaku has the conditions to thrive.
He knows the boss has faith in him and the fans have faith in him too in Milan. There were always question marks about his ability during his time in Manchester.
Firing Inter’s title challenge
On Sunday night, Inter came back from a two-goal deficit to beat local rivals 4-2 at the Giuseppe Meazza. The victory coupled with a shock defeat by Verona saw Inter move level on points with the Bianconeri.
The Nerazzurri would certainly not be in the same position without the 17 league goals of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian’s goals have played a key role in Inter’s title challenge, with Conte’s team now odds of 5/2 to win Serie A this season.
The Lukaku who has been playing for Inter this season looks nothing like the player who struggled for form and fitness towards the tail end of his career at Manchester United.
At Inter, he is once again looking like a world-class striker, who can become one of the best in the world. It is an incredible turnaround for the player. The player may now go on and achieve some of his goals, with his obvious first objective helping Conte’s team to end Juventus’ dominance over Serie A.
Can Romelu Lukaku fulfil his potential in Milan?