Romelu Lukaku is a success story. Once he moved to Everton, the Belgian showed why he was considered one of the hottest properties in football. Then, the forward went from potential to the real deal in Italy, where he notched 47 goals in 72 Serie A games for Inter Milan.
He’s succeeded everywhere he’s been, except for the top level of the Premier League. At Chelsea and Manchester United, Lukaku left a lot of questions unanswered. As a result, his status as an EPL legend isn’t quite yet secured. Now back at Stamford Bridge, and with valuable experience under his belt, he could easily rectify this situation and earn his status as a historic and formidable striker.
Score Plenty of Goals
Strikers will always be judged on the number of goals they score in their careers. Lukaku is by no means shy of the posts, but his current record doesn’t automatically qualify him as one of the greatest of all time. Compared to the likes of Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Alan Shearer, the Belgian is lightyears behind in terms of goals scored, so far.
However, that can all change within a couple of seasons. Lukaku is only 28 years old, so if he stays fit and remains in the EPL, his tally of 116 is bound to move towards at least the 150-mark. Even then, there’s no reason he can’t recreate the type of form that saw him find the net 64 times overall for Inter.
It’s clear there’s faith behind him: according to the football betting odds in the Premier League outright markets, bookmakers place Lukaku as the joint-favourite to end the season as the top goalscorer at 5/2 with Cristiano Ronaldo. In addition, Chelsea are hovering as second-favourites with odds of 13/5 to take the title, with Manchester City as the odds-on favourite, staked at 6/5 odds.
If Lukaku can prove himself and challenge the usual suspects for the top goalscorer mantle over the next couple of years, it will be hard to deny his EPL legacy.
Do It Against the Best
The only way people can say Lukaku isn’t a bonafide legend is by analysing his record against the biggest teams in England. Unfortunately, even Chelsea fans can’t hide from the fact that his figures are a little skewed. For example, of the 116 goals Lukaku’s netted in the Premier League, 99 of them have come against clubs outside of the top six.
? Romelu Lukaku celebrates his first-ever goal at Stamford Bridge after putting Chelsea ahead
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 11, 2021
Yes, 16 have been against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool. ‘Flat track bully’ is a harsh phrase to pigeonhole the Belgian with, because he’s achieved a lot in his short time as a footballer, yet it’s easy to see why fans and pundits are not entirely convinced about his homecoming. Should he turn up in the big games for the Blues season after season, the theory that he only scores against the smaller sides will be put to bed.
Something Lukaku will be desperate for is trophies. He hasn’t got anywhere near any major titles during his EPL days, which is another accusation that will go against him in the long run. Harry Kane is an excellent example of how this reputation as a trophy-less player can work against your favour.
Everyone in European football understands how good Kane is and comprehends that there’s even better to come, yet despite this awareness as to his ability, people are reluctant to class him as a legend simply because his cabinet is bare. England fans, especially, are desperate for this once-in-a-generation striker to move to serious sides like Manchester City or Real Madrid that can help him fulfil his potential.
Lukaku suffers from the same issue. However, winning Serie A with Inter last year will undoubtedly have boosted his confidence. Hopefully, Chelsea can do him a favour and go one better than their tag of strong second-favourites. Several people seem to think they can do what Liverpool did and successfully take on Manchester City, but only time will tell and as we all know, football is a remarkably fickle game.