Romelu Lukaku is back at Chelsea following the completion of his transfer from Inter Milan – a deal reported to be worth £97.5million.
The Belgium forward spent seven years away from Stamford Bridge but returns as one of the world’s best strikers.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at his career.
Clubs and numbers
The 28-year-old left Chelsea in 2014 after Everton turned a loan deal into a permanent one for £28m. It came after a successful campaign where he scored 16 goals in 33 games and he continued in the same vein as a permanent player at Goodison Park. In 166 games for the club he netted 87 times, proving himself to be one of the best number nines in Europe over three goal-laden seasons. That form attracted the interest of Manchester United, who paid £75m in 2017. An indifferent time followed at Old Trafford, though his numbers remained impressive, scoring 42 goals in 96 games. He moved to Inter Milan two years later and was a goalscoring machine in Italy, plundering 64 goals in 95 games as Inter became the best team in the country.
Highs and lows
Having delivered those sorts of numbers over a prolonged period of time, there have been more highs than lows for the Belgium striker. He was regularly ‘the first Everton player since’ during his stay at Goodison Park, including the feats of scoring in seven consecutive matches and nine consecutive home games. The 25 league goals he scored in 2016-17 remains his highest tally. He scored a brace on his Manchester United league debut, becoming the fourth player to do so. His entire time at the San Siro can be considered a high, considering the amount of goals he scored, while also helping the club to their first league title in 11 years last season. The main low was how his time at Old Trafford unfolded as, despite his more-than-satisfactory goal record, other areas of his game were poor and he was eventually frozen out under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
How does he compare?
Lukaku’s record across the last seven seasons is among the best, but it is good to compare against Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski, two players of similar ilk. Kane broke into the Tottenham team in 2014-15 – Lukaku’s first season at Everton – while Lewandoswki was enjoying his first season at Bayern Munich. Kane’s record since the start of that season is 216 goals in 310 games in all competitions. Lewandowski’s is even better, as he has plundered a staggering 294 goals in 329 games, albeit in a weaker league. Lukaku’s record is slightly more modest, having bagged 193 goals in 357 games.
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