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Each time the world cup comes around, new stars are born, the transfer market goes crazy and the world is an open mic stage to stardom for every footballer involved. Who will be this year’s previously unidentified flying object and earn a big money transfer to one of Europe’s football powerhouses just like Colombia James Rodriguez did in Brazil 2012.
The Sensible Soccer World Cup blog will bring scouting know how direct from the battlefield of English Premier League recruitment directors and chief scouts. Our blog will be opening the lid on just who is being watched ahead of Russia’s six-week footballing bonanza.
Romelu Lukaku burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old at Anderlecht. After scoring 121 goals in just 87 matches for Anderlecht’s youth sides, he was offered a professional contract and brought into the first-team for the 09/10 season. With Lukaku being physically mature he adapted to senior football instantly and once again started to break records. After scoring 15 goals in his debut campaign with Anderlecht, he became the youngest ever top scorer in Belgian football at the age of 16 years and 10 months as he lead his side to the title.
This form followed into the 10/11 season as Lukaku scored 12 goals and assisted a further 5. This resulted in his first transfer as Chelsea invested £13.5m in his prodigious talents. However, he was never really given an opportunity in the Chelsea first-team and had to look elsewhere for precious on pitch minutes and to test his goal scoring capabilities at Premier League level.
Loan moves to West Brom and Everton provided Lukaku the platform to light up the Premier League and he did just that. After scoring 17 goals and assisting 7 in a relatively poor West Brom side, Lukaku was then loaned to Roberto Martinez’s Everton. Under Martinez’s tutelage, Lukaku scored 15 goals and provided 8 assists as he lead Everton into the Europa League. This form convinced the Toffees to smash their transfer record on Lukaku. Since the 13/14 season, Lukaku has never failed to score over 20 goals in a season.
For his national side, Lukaku has been just as prolific. At the age of 24 he became his nation’s record goalscorer and his current record stands at 40 goals in 71 appearances for the Belgian Red Devils. However, many Manchester United supporters have been a little disappointed with the Belgian after United spent over £76m to acquire Lukaku from Everton last summer. His return for Manchester United currently stands at 27 goals and 9 assists in 51 appearances which in all fairness is a very solid return. Lukaku is also a little more efficient than some of his detractors may give him credit for aside from hitting the back of the net.
In the Premier League last season, Lukaku averaged 2.5 shots, 1 key pass and 1 dribble per game. He also completed an average of 21.2 passes per game with a success rate of 68.4%. This is an efficient return for a player pretty persistently the most advanced in United’s set up and quite often isolated in his role. Lukakus’ goal scoring record, goal threat and shot accuracy is also respectable and is detailed below from last season’s FA Premier League in comparison to other players who may still have a say in this World Cup’s destiny.
Premier League Striker Comparison 2017 / 2018
|Shots On Target||63%||56%||57%||51%||63%|
|Minutes Per Goal||179||103||94||144||185|
Lukaku has 4 goals in two games at this World Cup and is battling with the likes of Kane and Ronaldo for the coveted Golden Boot. He has looked more fluid and comfortable on the eye in the Belgian red as opposed to that of Manchester United and maybe Martinez’s more relaxed responsibility in play and higher tempo attacking get the best out of United’s £75million investment.
Article By: James Radcliffe