Where Does Lukaku Rank Amongst This Generation's Best?

James Budgen

Nobody can dispute his goals, but he should probably score more

Romelu Lukaku has always been a player that has split opinions amongst football fans since the start of his move to the Premier League, but he also has always been a reliable source of goals during his career, and there can be no doubt about that.

Lukaku has scored 15+ goals in seven of the last nine league seasons, scoring 20+ goals three times, including his previous two seasons at Inter Milan, which also brought in the club’s first Serie A title in over a decade.

Despite the goals, the recent league titles, his unrivalled physical stature up top, he doesn't quite get into the talks amongst the greats. We look at where this topsy-turvy striker fits into that discussion.

GET £40 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £10 ON AFCON
Place a £10 Sportsbook bet on any Football market between January 7th - February 6th, at min. odds 1/2 (1.5) — get £40 in free bets, valid 30 days. Your qualifying bet must settle before 23:59 February 6th. Only deposits via Cards will qualify. Free bets will be awarded after the qualifying bet has been settled. T&Cs apply.
Get Offer

Not many better have done it in the Premier League

Lukaku is the 20th in all-time scoring charts in the Premier League, scoring 118 goals in 265 appearances. Not bad for a man not many can seem to figure out within their squad.

This is more goals than Premier League winners like Ian Wright and ironically, Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba, and he even has a better goals-to-game record than the Ivory Coast man. Furthermore, should Lukaku net a further 10 goals in this season, which is still extremely possible and likely if he gets back into the side, he will move into the 14th all-time top scorer and ahead of the likes of Steven Gerrard, Dwight Yorke, Nicolas Anelka, Robbie Keane, and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbnaink, while Jamie Vardy is currently just nine ahead of him too.

Considering he came into the league at a young age, whilst not always being on a great team, spending four years at Everton and a year at West Brom, this record is quite remarkable. Lukaku’s best season in the Premier League was the 2016/17 campaign where he scored 25 goals in 37 appearances for Everton, and he was only beaten to the Golden Boot when Harry Kane incredibly scored six goals in his final three games of the season, which included a hat-trick away to Hull City.

This secured him a £75m move to Manchester United, which is where the questions began to start on just how good or bad he actually is. But, this is exactly our point: that season he outscored Diego Costa in a title-winning team, Alexis Sanchez who had the best season of his career, Sergio Aguero and Zlatlan Ibrahimovic.

The Move to Serie A only justified his greatness

During his time in the Serie A, Lukaku was outscored by only two players: Cristiano Ronaldo and Ciro Immobile. This is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

While at Inter, Lukaku played a different role than what he is asked to play at Chelsea now and previously at Manchester United. Antonio Conte didn’t want Lukaku to play with his back to goal, to negate his wastefulness on the ball, and rather, he played him in the channels, making runs in behind where he can use his movement and physical attributes to run at defences and be a scoring threat rather being a link up player. It worked a treat, but on the other hand, it only bolstered the argument that if he is to succeed, everyone else around him must play to his strengths.

With the Inter team being catered to Lukaku’s strengths, he scored 20+ goals in the league in consecutive seasons for the first time in his career. 47 goals in 72 league appearances for Inter is a very impressive return, especially considering he played in a two striker system alongside Lautaro Martinez and how this also meant he outscored the Brazilian Ronaldo with these stats from his Inter days.

In just his second season in Italy, not only was Lukaku the second top goalscorer in the league, he played a huge part in winning Inter’s first title since 2009/10, and the first team not named Juventus to win the trophy since 2010/11. The two years at Inter secured him another huge move to Chelsea, taking his transfer costs up to £280m, the highest cumulative transfer fees paid for a player, which all but sums up how tough this argument is to work out; is he that good or are we missing something?

One of the bests, but just below the very best

Lukaku is a step below the best strikers of his generation, Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero and Karim Benzema for example, and quite a big step at that. But, nevertheless, that bracket below is where he excels and fits in.

His all-around play compared to these players isn't as good. They can score similar amounts of goals compared to Lukaku, but also help with team play more efficiently compared to him and at the end of the day, stick that above names in any side out there and they score goals. Lukaku, however, won't.

But, when a team is clearly built to his strengths like Inter and Everton were able to do, he is able to score 20+ goals a season very easily. It also makes it impressive that when asked to do a job of linking up play with his back to goal, like his job at United and currently at Chelsea, which isn't his best attribute, he is still able to contribute a lot to the team, which is a sign of a great player.


🚀 £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU PLACE A £5 BET 🚀
New customers only. First single & e/w bet only. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 2 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions. Further t&cs apply. 18+. Begambleaware.org
Claim Bonus
🔴 BET £10 & GET £30 IN FREE BETS! ⚫️
New customers only. Place a £10 fixed odds bet min odds 1/2, 2 x £10 free bets & 2x free spread bets. Free bets awarded on consecutive days. Full t&c’s apply.
Claim Bonus
♥️ GET £40 FREE PLAY PLUS A £10 FREE SPORTS BET! ♥️
1st time depositors only. Min. deposit £10. Use code FAPOKER. Free Play given as cash, Spin & Go tickets, and a Sports Free Bet over 6 days. Tickets expire after 24 hours. Withdrawal restricted during bonus period. Terms apply.
Claim Bonus
⚪️ Get £40 FREE BETS when you bet £10 (mobile only) ⚪️
New customers who register via Mobile only, min £10/€10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4 x £10/€10 (30 day expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply
Claim Bonus
⚽️ £40 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU PLACE A £10 BET ON FOOTBALL ⚽️
Place a £10 Sportsbook bet on any Football market between January 7th - February 6th, at min. odds 1/2 (1.5) — get £40 in free bets, valid 30 days. Your qualifying bet must settle before 23:59 February 6th. Only deposits via Cards will qualify. Free bets will be awarded after the qualifying bet has been settled. T&Cs apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus
⚽️ £60 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU PLACE A £10 BET ON FOOTBALL ⚽️
Place a £10 bet on football (Jan 7 - 15), at min. odds 1/5 (1.2) — get £60 in free bets. £40 free bets will be awarded after the qualifying bet has been settled and £20 free bet the following day. Only deposits via cards will qualify, Apple pay not valid on this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🔥 ✅ BET £10 & GET £60 IN FREE BETS! ✅ 🔥
New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+). First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🔥 BET £10 ON ANY SPORT & GET £20 IN FREE BETS 🔥
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £20 free bets valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. begambleaware.org.
Claim Bonus
🤩 BET £10 AT MANSION BET AND GET A £10 FREE BET 🤩
New customers only. Min deposit and bet £10 (£20 if E/W bet) from UK debit card only. Min odds evens (1/5 per leg in multi selection). £10 Free Bet vaild for 7 days, stake not returned, no Cash Out, max winnings £5k. T&C’s apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus

🏆 Money Back as CASH up to £20 if your first bet loses! 🏆
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Football market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🟢 Bet £10 & Get £50 in free bets! 🟡
Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
GET A £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST FOOTBALL ACCA LOSES!!!! 🙌🙌🙌
New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus
🌟 Bet £5 & get £30 in bonuses! 🌟
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Bonus