Manchester United’s £75 million man has been searching for gold for a long while now, and after scoring in all but one of the Reds’ first nine games, the Belgian has astonishingly failed to find the net since late September.
This run of seven games without goals in any competition is his longest goal draught since the end of the 2015/16 season.
Romelu Lukaku recently told Sky Sports that critics have been judging him as a “finished article” and that he aims to be “improving year in, year out”. During the very early portion of the season, the move to Manchester was turning out to be the best way of achieving this as Lukaku and his new teammates tore teams apart left right and centre.
The latter part of the season tells a different story though. Lukaku’s goal scoring form has plummeted, and with it Manchester United’s overall form. This has raised queries about his real worth, and whether Manchester United have again forked out a hefty amount of money for a player who may not live up to his price-tag.
Last year it was Paul Pogba who made the headlines with his £89 million transfer to United, but the Frenchman didn’t exactly provide justification of such an extortionate fee during that season. However, based on Lukaku’s performances across his Everton career, Mourinho can’t really be questioned for paying £75 million to complete the move. There’s no doubt that the 24-year-old is a top-class finisher and a goal machine provided he gets the required service.
Is the service therefore where the current problem lies then? Or should Lukaku be working harder to help his team in other areas of the pitch? After all, the modern attacking game is more about feeding off passes into the penalty area. Granted, he has been putting in more of a shift to create chances lately, providing two assists in the last two matches, and his flick on for Martial’s goal against Tottenham the other week was nothing short of exceptional, as was his cross against Huddersfield, but he has not managed to pick up any goals for himself in seven matches.
None of this should really be a cause for concern for the Red Devils, because they have still been able to put goals past the opposition at a steady rate, regardless of who’s putting them in. Nevertheless, it is noticeable that since Lukaku stopped scoring, United just haven’t been scoring as many goals and have not recovered the form that made them look like title favourites at the beginning of the season.
Friday saw a thrilling friendly encounter between Belgium and Mexico, in which Lukaku scored twice as well as assisting the other goal that saw his country draw 3-3. Lukaku does tend to find the net when playing for his national team, now scoring in eight of his last nine games for Belgium, with another coming up on Tuesday against Japan. Fans from the red side of Manchester will be hoping that his latest account for his country will give him the confidence to knock some in for his club.
Manchester United face Newcastle, Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford in their next three Premier League fixtures, and Romelu Lukaku will be hungry for goals when they come around.
Written by Harry Mahon.