Manchester United and Everton face off this weekend in a game of crucial importance for both teams. United look to continue their march into the Champions League places, while Everton are battling with Leicester, Wolves and Watford for a Europa League spot.
United come into the game subsequent to their fiercely important Champions League tie in Spain against Barcelona – something that will work in The Toffees’ favour. Indeed, a player that may be vitally important in both ties is former Everton star, Romelu Lukaku.
The striker arrived at Manchester United in 2017 in a whopping deal initially worth £75m. Where he has not exactly flopped, the Belgian arguably hasn’t shone either.
But who is a better player? The Lukaku at Everton or the Lukaku at United?
Let’s analyse the two below.
Manchester United’s Lukaku
Lukaku made a swift impact upon his arrival at United, scoring 16 and assisting seven in 34 appearances in his first campaign. Especially at the beginning of the season, Lukaku seemed to have been the perfect fit for United, who had been missing a top goal scorer previously.
However, Lukaku’s form has taken a dip this season, scoring 12 and yet to provide an assist in 29 appearances. It’s not just the goals, however. Since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the former Chelsea man has found himself down the pecking order, with Marcus Rashford taking centre stage – something immensely pleasing for the United faithful.
Despite a drop in form, however, many simultaneously feel that many fans and media outlets alike are giving the forward less credit than he deserves. The striker certainly hasn’t lived up to his astronomical transfer fee, but he hasn’t been a flop either. At the age of 25, there is still plenty more to come from Lukaku.
TT Grade: B
Lukaku arrived at Everton for £28m after a successful loan spell from Chelsea. It was here that Lukaku really made his name, scoring an impressive 25 league goals in his final season. Indeed, he was only 23 at this point and was proving to be one of the most prominent talents in Europe.
The Blues initially had signed the talented youngster who was believed to be the next big prospect. However, in fairly typical Chelsea fashion, Lukaku was granted few chances to impress. The forward went on loan, first to West Brom and then Everton, where he succeeded in both examples.
While at Goodison Park, Lukaku seemingly had everything – pace, power and an eye for goal. He was the focal point of their attack, something they have arguably failed to replace since his departure. The forward’s quality performances led to his staggeringly high transfer fee, with most believing United had secured a real gem.
The Belgian enjoyed a remarkably successful time while at Everton, joining the ever-growing list of players Chelsea let slip from their ranks. He also represents a huge profit for Everton, who despite arguably squandering much of the money, benefitted vastly from his signing.
TT Grade: A
There we have it – Everton’s Lukaku takes the win. Despite initially settling in well at United, Lukaku’s form has dropped and he looks lost amid the Old Trafford overhaul surely about to come this summer.
While he retains the potential to trouble the best in Europe, he is arguably less feared than when he arrived. Furthermore, though he has plenty of time to thrive in Manchester, nothing but an Everton win can be given here.
What do you think United and Everton fans? Is Lukaku still the same player United signed? Has he lost his fear factor? Or does he simply shine less in a team with more overall quality? Comment below…
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