Manchester United saw their quest to defend their FA Cup title come to an end on Monday when they went down 1-0 at Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho’s men had beaten three Championship teams en route to the last eight, but were unable to get the better of Antonio Conte’s Blues, with N’Golo Kante’s excellent long-range effort six minutes into the second half enough to see off the Red Devils.
In what was a bad-tempered affair, which saw Mourinho and Conte clash repeatedly on the touchline, Ander Herrera was given his marching orders ten minutes before half time after picking up two yellow cards, the second a debatable one for a foul on the brilliant Eden Hazard.
Nonetheless, defeat for United ends their chances of a treble this term, but they’ll look to put that to the back of their minds when they face FC Rostov in the Europa League on Thursday, having drawn 1-1 in the first leg of their last 16 clash.
And, with Mourinho’s men battling to finish in the top four, there’s plenty to play for this season, although that hasn’t stopped speculation building about who the Red Devils may look to sign in the summer, and one name that has cropped up recently is Everton forward Romelu Lukaku.
That’s because the Toffees frontman, who became the club’s record Premier League goal-scorer with his 61st goal in their 3-2 defeat to Tottenham a few weeks ago, surpassing Duncan Ferguson’s tally of 60, looks set to reject a new contract at Goodison Park, which could lead to the Merseyside club losing their prized asset in the summer.
And he’s a forward who would be absolutely perfect for Manchester United.
The Belgian international has scored 19 Premier League goals this season to sit joint top of the goal-scoring charts with Spurs’ Harry Kane, and with five assists also to his name, it means that Lukaku has been directly involved in over half of Everton’s league goals this term (24 of 47).
And, in the likes of Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, United arguably have better creative options than Everton, so not only will Lukaku continue to create goals for himself, such is his ability and confidence, but he’s likely to receive more goal-scoring opportunities at United.
And given his clinical edge and insatiable appetite in front of goal, he’s going to net several times for the club, which will not only enhance his reputation, but it could also help United develop in this new era under Mourinho.
The Red Devils have improved as the season has progressed, but it’s not going to be enough to win the Premier League title, and it may not even be enough for them to finish in the top four.
Their biggest issue this season has been breaking teams down at home.
United have drawn seven of their 14 league games at Old Trafford this term, with the likes of Stoke, Burnley, West Ham, Hull, and Bournemouth all coming away from the North West with a point.
Yet these are all games that United could and perhaps should have won, given that they created several chances, but just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
Lukaku’s track record suggests that he could have made the telling difference in some of those games.
Clearly, alongside the likes of Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the latter whom of course would be the perfect person to learn from given his incredible capabilities as a forward, Lukaku has the chance to take United to the next step under Mourinho, which would not only develop the team, but also Lukaku as a striker.