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The Romelu Lukaku Effect at Inter

Inter Milan, one of the biggest clubs in Italy are benefiting from the signing of Romelu Lukaku. Last season, Inter finished second in Serie A by a single point, they also lost the Europa League final to Sevilla. A frustrating end to a very strong season for the Milan Giants. However, that said, Lukaku had a sensational season, 34 goals in 51 games in all competitions, equaling the record set by legendary striker Ronaldo Nazario from his time at Inter. This season, the goals have continued, 24 in 32 in all competitions. Romelu Lukaku is one of many reasons the Nerazzurri have emerged as the main title threat to 10 in a row chasing Juventus.

Inter have today; beaten in form Atalanta 1.0, Lukaku did not score but completed 90 minutes again. Power, pace and finishing have been his calling card this season. A fluid partnership with box-to-box midfielder Nicolo Barella, another player destined for big things in my opinion, and attacking wingback Achraf Hakimi has drawn plaudits for their form this season.

The biggest signing for Inter Milan was the signing of Antonio Conte as head coach, this signing, gave Inter the head start needed to bring Romelu Lukaku to Inter. A serial winner as a player and manager, Conte was the man needed to change the mindset and frustrations in recent seasons surrounding the Nerazzuri. English Premier League fans will remember Conte from his time at Chelsea, a key word used when joining Chelsea was “Fight”. There has been no difference at Inter Milan. A combative midfielder during his playing days, he has emphasized hard work and grit. This has shown in the performances on the pitch.

Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Conte

Conte made no secret of his desire to sign Lukaku during his time at Chelsea; he ended up with Alvaro Morata as Lukaku moved to Man Utd.

A few years later, things have drastically changed as Conte, and then Romelu have both made the switch to Inter Milan. The relationship between manager and player has proven to be extremely fruitful so far, goal wise at least, trophies need to follow and the League title, this season anyway, looks like it will be.

Romelu Lukaku told Sky Sports journalist Paul Gilmour last year –

“Conte is always there at the sidelines encouraging every player to do the work.  It’s a good thing to see because I remember in the first training sessions when I was there, the physical work I was not used to this. We are talking about the Premier League being physically the toughest league, but the training sessions that we do – nobody trains as hard as us. Never. You’re really at your fittest.”

Romelu Lukaku had a very good goal scoring record at Man Utd, but it seemed his style of play was not a perfect fit, especially when Ole Gunnar Solskjær replaced Jose Mourinho. Lukaku has been vocal in his praise for Mourinho and has said if he was backed financially with the targets he requested, Utd would be in a better place. The difference for Romelu Lukaku is that he’s loved in Milan.

Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Conte
Inter Milan’s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku (R) celebrates with Inter Milan’s Italian head coach Antonio Conte after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match AC Milan vs Inter Milan on September 21, 2019 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Romelu Lukaku is a homebody, and a family man, he enjoys sitting at home, relaxing, watching Family Guy and other activities, he is an astute student and can speak 5 languages, he is football obsessed, constantly reading, watching videos and learning. It feels strange that he has only 1 league title to his name, for a man of his goal scoring prowess, and clubs such as Anderlecht, Chelsea, Man Utd & Inter Milan on his resume, it just doesn’t seem right.

It looks likely that it will change this season, Inter after today’s result V Atalanta sit 6 points clear of Milan, 10 clear of Juventus, albeit the Turin Giants do have a game at hand. 12 games remain in this season’s race for the Serie A title. This is a title Inter need after their embarrassing Champions League run, finishing bottom of their group, crashing out of Europe at the first hurdle, not to mention the financial outlay, some of the signings have been poor and questionable at best.

Romelu Lukaku has been on fire this season; he is emphasizing his claim as one of the best goalscorers in world football, there is a lot of talk about Erling Haaland and where he will go this or perhaps next summer. I would be surprised if no rumors appear regarding Romelu Lukaku’s future, especially given the questions marks surrounding the financial situation of the Inter Milan owner.

Let’s get back to football, the goals have come consistently this season, a criticism in England, was his record in the big games, he has rectified that in Italy, none yet far this season against Juventus, but he did make the scoresheet v AC Milan, Napoli, Fiorentina & Lazio to aid in Inters charge to the title.

MILAN, ITALY – JANUARY 03: Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan celebrates after scoring their team’s fourth goal during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and FC Crotone at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 03, 2021 in Milan, Italy. Sporting stadiums around Italy remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Belgium and Roberto Martinez will be hoping the intensity of Inter Milan’s play under the leadership of Antonio Conte, will not see Lukaku show up for the European Championships burnt out or fatigued. A major player for Belgium alongside Kevin De Bruyne, injury-prone Eden Hazard will be key for Belgium’s hopes of European Glory this summer. A pressure he will welcome.

What I have noticed this season watching Inter and what goes under the radar with Lukaku, is his hold up play and his work rate. Defenders worry and panic when Romelu Lakaku is on the pitch, often mistakes happen because of the pressure he applies, something Conte adores about his main man.

With the Serie A title looming, unless a crisis happens, how many goals will he score this season? Will he equal or better last season’s total? Where does he rank in the list of best strikers currently playing in world football?

Thanks for reading.

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Darren Potts

Main Image Credits- Embed from Getty Images

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