After an excellent World Cup with Belgium, Manchester United supporters will have been purring at the prospect of having an acclimatised Romelu Lukaku leading their line for the 2018/19 season.
Following a solid debut season that saw him net 27 goals in all competitions, 16 of which came in the Premier League, there were high hopes for the Belgian as United looked to close the gap between themselves and Manchester City.
Yet that was not forthcoming, as United’s slow start to the campaign left them almost immediately out of the title race, with Liverpool and Manchester City both winning games at a relentless pace.
Last season he appeared in 34 of United’s 38 games in the Premier League and was rarely left out of the team when fit, with Jose Mourinho keen to have his physical presence leading the line. Lukaku himself made a decent enough start, scoring four goals in his first four Premier League outings, but then went 12 games without a goal in all competitions before finally bringing it to an end against Southampton in December.
Following Mourinho’s sacking, the former Everton striker did score in each of his first three games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but has still been unable to establish himself as a regular in the starting XI.
Whilst he has been on the sidelines for much of recent weeks, Marcus Rashford has become the main man in attack, flourishing when playing as a centre-forward, opportunities that often weren’t afforded to him when Lukaku was Mourinho was in charge.
Rashford has six goals and two assists since Solskjaer was appointed as manager, while the United attack as a whole has looked far more fluid and dangerous with the pace of Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial.