Why Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata may just be the perfect buys for their respective clubs
This summer has been unprecedented in comparison to others, in the sense that strikers are on top of everyone's radar. Manchester United's loss of Zlatan Ibrahimović to injury, had reportedly forced Jose Mourinho to think about a target man rather than a certain Frenchman! Also, the sale of Wayne Rooney, which looked inevitable before the 2016 season finished, meant there was a striker requirement at Old Trafford. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admitting today that the decision to sell Diego Costa was made in January. Today saw the Pensioners capture the signing of Alvaro Morata, who looked destined for the Red Devils earlier this summer, but a compromise could not be reached between the hierarchies of Man Utd & Real Madrid. The question is, who has got their hands on the better player?
Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian international and former Everton striker signed for Manchester United on 10th July 2017 for £75m/€90m. Last season he scored 26 goals in all competitions; this, on top of his desire to play Champions League football, bolstered his reputation in the Premier League. With a goal ratio per game of 0.46 from 186 PL appearances, United have signed a striker who is a proven goal scorer and he is only 24! He has developed his game immensely since he came onto the scene with Chelsea, and then West Brom where United fans will remember him from the 5-5 draw on Sir Alex Ferguson's last game as Manchester United manager. Lukaku has now become an all-round striker in terms of goals scored, 18 with his head, 24 on his right foot and 42 on his favoured left. There has been the argument made by some fans that he's not a big game player, however, he did score that magical goal versus Man City at the Etihad last season and his international experience will help him stand up to the pressures of the Champions League; 20 goals in 57 appearances.
Was Alvaro Morata ever really going to join Man Utd this summer? Morata spoke to the Guardian in April, where he said he would work with Antonio Conte "sooner or later". Conte tried to sign him last summer with a £60m bid before Real Madrid brought him back to the Santiago Bernabéu. Last season, Morata chipped in with 20 goals. He was responsible for gaining his team 13 points, a record beaten only by Ronaldo with 14. While at Juventus he scored 27 goals in two years, winning both Serie A and the Coppa Italia twice. In terms of Champions League pedigree, he has played in a final versus Barcelona where his team were on the losing side. Although, he has scored 3 goals in 9 appearances in the competition. Internationally, the Spaniard has 20 caps for his country and scored nine goals since his debut in 2014.
Lukaku is not a typical Man Utd player, who has flair, skill and the aura of a Cantona or Zlatan. He is, however, a typical Jose Mourinho striker. A big, tall, target man, who scores goals for fun and is able to provide an out ball for his team when they are under pressure. Mourinho's first spell at Chelsea saw him bring in Didier Drogba, who on paper offers the same type of services as Man Utd's new no.9. Look how well that worked for Mourinho! With his friendship blossoming on and off the pitch with Paul Pogba and the goals he's scoring in pre-season, it seems as though he has settled quite quickly into this United team. The Belgian loves to get on the end of crosses and with the likes of Valencia, Mata, Martial and Blind all providing width for United, he will inevitably get the service to score more goals than he did at Everton. He is a mix of Zlatan’s physical condition and goal scoring ability and Rashford's pace which makes him frightening for defenders, but can he handle the pressure at the Theatre of Dreams? I think so; he will get 20+ goals for Man Utd this season due to his ability and self-confidence that makes him want to become the best.
Morata is a proven goal scorer! There is always talk surrounding foreign players going into the Premier League, that they need time to settle, etc. Yes, there is evidence to support that claim with Ronaldo, Henry, etc. On the other hand, there are players like Van Nistelrooy, Zola, Suarez who instantly grab the “bull by the horns” and do what they do best - score goals. In this Chelsea team, Morata will be surrounded by quick, flair players such as Hazard, Pedro & Willian, who will be able to counter attack teams more effectively than with Diego Costa who barged his way through defenders. He is similar to the great Raul, in how he glides along the football pitch with his quick thinking and a natural instinct for goals. Chelsea has now got a player who is young, wants to play every week and with the impending World Cup around the corner, will want to do everything he can to ensure he's on that plane to Russia. Surely he can't be any worse than the previous Spanish striker who moved to Stamford Bridge for £50m!!!
Manchester United lacked that clinical goal scorer that season and with Romelu Lukaku now at Old Trafford we could see those draws become wins and turn United into genuine title contenders. Whilst Alvaro Morata will be aiming to fill in the shoes of departing striker Diego Costa.