A year after he left, Romelu Lukaku is back in Milan. The less said about Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge, the better, as he hopes to recapture the thrilling form that had him looking so impressive during his previous spell at Inter. However, Will Romelu Lukaku flourish in Serie A once again? the Inter side he is returning to is not the Nerazzurri that he knew, and he’ll have to acclimatise to the changes that have taken place if he’s to succeed on his return to Italy.
The biggest change in the year that Lukaku has been gone is the change in manager. Antonio Conte led Inter’s title charge in the 2020-21 season, but the Italian left the club in the same summer as Lukaku after falling out with the club hierarchy. Simone Inzaghi arrived in his place, after finishing a five-year spell at Lazio. Will Romelu Lukaku flourish in Serie A once again?
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Inazghi is still relatively young, with Lazio being his first managerial job, but he earned a lot of admirers during his five years at the Rome-based club. Not dissimilar to Conte, Inzaghi tends to prefer playing with a back three, and using wing-backs in the wide areas who get forward well. Those wide players are responsible for supplying the attackers, along with an attacking midfielder who sits behind the front two.
Such a system seems ideal for getting the most out of Lukaku, and the presence of Lautaro Martínez will be a huge plus. Martínez thrives as part of an attacking duo, and the successful partnership that the Argentine struck up with Lukaku was a key feature of Conte’s Inter side. If they can replicate that understanding, then punters who bet on football will be tempted to back Lukaku to succeed during his second spell in Lombardy.
There have been changes elsewhere, and the absence of Achraf Hakimi will be felt. The Moroccan’s supremely attacking nature as a right wing-back was perfect for Lukaku and, while Denzel Dumfries isn’t a poor player, Hakimi’s effectiveness in attack will be difficult to replicate. Furthermore, Inter’s depth in attack comes with question marks. Alexis Sánchez and Edin Džeko are both quality players, but they’re past their prime at 33 and 36 years old respectively.
Inter have already rectified these flaws to some extent, having made moves for Robin Gosens from Atalanta and Joaquín Correa from Lazio. At 27 years old, both players are in their prime. Correa is a talented forward who should combine well with Lukaku, and offer an alternative to the front two of Lukaku and Martínez. Meanwhile, Robin Gosens is the sort of attacking wing-back who should complement Lukaku, much like Hakimi did in the past, albeit from the left rather than the right.
While Inter will likely do more business ahead of the season getting underway, in truth the biggest question mark surrounding Lukaku’s likelihood of succeeding is the player himself. When Lukaku arrived from Manchester United, he was in a similar state. Having failed to live up to expectations in Manchester, he needed an environment to nurture him, and help him rebuild his confidence in himself and his game. Inter Milan gave him just that. Leaving Chelsea, he finds himself in the same position once again, and it’s obvious how much of an attachment he has to Inter. While there are no sure things in football, Inter seems the best option for Lukaku to rehabilitate himself and, perhaps, drive the historic club to success once again.
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