The Manchester United fans were celebrating in the Transfer Tavern on Sunday night after they watched their side record a priceless 2-1 victory over their top-four rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho’s side were far from their best against Antonio Conte’s travelling Chelsea side on Sunday afternoon, but they still managed to take all three points from their season-defining encounter. The result enabled them to climb back into 2nd place and open up a 6 point gap between themselves and 5th place Chelsea in the process.
Romelu Lukaku has been heavily criticised by fans and pundits alike this season for failing to deliver match-winning performances against the top-six teams, but he silenced his critics yesterday with an excellent display at the spearhead of United’s attack. The Belgian international drew United level after 39 minutes with a composed finish into the bottom corner of Thibaut Courtois goal from just 8-yards out.
And Lukaku proved that he is more than just a goalscorer 15 minutes from time, as he picked out Jesse Lingard in the area with a delightfully weighted cross, and the substitute made no mistake in heading home United’s winner. Since he arrived from Everton last summer, Lukaku has felt the weight of expectation on his shoulders due to the lack of centre-forwards at the club, but that could be all set to change next summer.
According to The Sun, United are interested in signing Robert Lewandowski (valued at £72 million by Transfermarkt) from Bayern Munich next summer, although the report claims that Chelsea are the favourites to secure his signature at this moment in time. Lukaku has shown enough improvement in recent weeks to suggest that he could eventually sway the opinion of those who have consistently doubted him in recent weeks, and that improvement could be further enhanced following the arrival of Lewandowski.
First and foremost, Lewandowski is one of the most complete strikers in world football, so Lukaku’s development would undoubtedly be catalysed whilst learning from him on the training ground. The Polish international has an abundance of rich experience at both club and international level which also make him an ideal candidate to mentor United’s top goalscorer.
Although the arrival of Lewandowski would undoubtedly pose a threat to Lukaku’s place in the first-team, the increase in competition for a starting berth should encourage further improvement from the 24-year-old, so his arrival at Old Trafford should be seen as a positive move for both United’s and Lukaku’s progression.