Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has had a tough time at club level as of late. Last night against Juventus the Belgian striker struggled as he extended his barren spell in front of goal to eight games.
Jose Mourinho spoke following the game of Lukaku’s struggles, not just in front of goal, but in his all-around game, but outlined that he is a striker the club “believes in.”
“But I have to agree his moment is not sweet, not just with the goals he is not scoring but in his confidence, movement, touch, he is not linking the game well with the team – but he’s our striker and he’s a good striker and a striker we believe in.”
Despite Mourinho’s confidence in him and his decent goalscoring season last campaign overall Lukaku has had a mixed career in red so far.
Could it be time for Manchester United to look elsewhere for a new number 9?
Here are five strikers who could replace Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United:
1) Harry Kane
The obvious choice, since breaking into Tottenham’s first team squad five or so seasons ago, Harry Kane has proven that he is one of European football’s most elite strikers.
A perennial goalscoring whose all-round play as a striker is far superior to that of his Belgian counterpart Lukaku, Kane would add a much-needed spark to the United forward line with his clever runs and tremendous link up play.
Kane also has the added benefit of coming from a fellow Premier League team thus meaning that it would take little or no time for the England international to settle in at Old Trafford.
The 25 year old would cost Manchester United in excess of £100 million and it’s likely that he’d favour a move to Real over the Red Devils but there’s no doubt that he’d be an outstanding addition to this United side.
2) Mauro Icardi
The quintessential penalty box predator, Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi is just the type of Ruud Van Nistelrooy-esque striker that would thrive at Old Trafford.
Icardi is one of the most complete strikers in world football and has worked hard to add more to his game in the last number of seasons, including an improved work rate and all round contribution to the team’s play.
The Argentine has been likened to Gabriel Batistuta and Samuel Eto’o amonst others and was described by , Inter coach Luciano Spalletti stated that Icardi “is an animal in the box,” as he showed recently against AC in the Milan derby.
113 goals in just 191 goals from Inter Milan, and still only 25, Mauro Icardi would bring something totally different to Manchester United’s attack
Mauro Icardi comes alive when the ball goes in the box. His off-the-ball movement is a lesson for all young strikers.
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) October 22, 2018
3) Robert Lewandowski
A striker who seems to constantly be linked with a move to Manchester United has been one of, if not the, best number nine in European football over the last number of years, Robert Lewandowski
41, 43 and 42 goals in his last three seasons at German giants Bayern Munich, Lewandowski is the type of stiker that can score any and all types of goals, and frequently does so.
Formidable in the air but with a graceful and delicate touch, the Polish striker would be an incredibly exciting addition to not just Manchester United but to the Premier League as a whole.
Lewandowski, had reportedly been offered to Manchester United during the summer although he was not keen on a move to Old Trafford, and at 30-years of age his pricetag at this stage of his career may not make financial sense, but there’s no doubt that he would still be one of Europe’s finest.
4) Diego Costa
Could Manchester United and Jose Mourinho tempt the highly controversial but highly talented Diego Costa with a move back to the Premier League? Stranger things have happened.
Costa was a huge success in his three seasons at Stamford Bridge scoring 52 goals in 89 Premier League games and establishing himself as one of Europe’s finest hitmen.
The Spanish international fit the physical style of the Premier League perfectly and had a tremendous relationship with Mourinho during his time at Chelsea so perhaps he could be lured into a fleeting return to English football.
He is however entering his 30s and it’s likely that, even though he didn’t have the best season with Atletico last year, his love affair with the club is far from over.
5) Roberto Firmino
An outside bet no question, but Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino is almost the antithesis of Romelu Lukaku in an attacking sense.
Both play as a number nine but where Lukaku’s strength is usually, although not so much recently, in holding the ball up and using his strength to bully defenders, Firmino uses his pace, intelligence and tremendous finishing to outfox the opposition.
Firmino had a break out season for Liverpool last campaign grabbing 27 goals in all competitions and his workrate and ability to play in a number of positions off the front would also surely be a huge asset to Manchester United.
Realistically though there is very little chance of the Merseyside club selling one of their finest assets to a rival like Manchester United no matter how good a fit Firmino may be at Old Trafford.