The biggest deal on Deadline Day surprisingly didn’t involve a player coming to the Premier League, but rather one leaving. Yesterday, Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku joined European giants Inter Milan from Manchester United in a deal that could be worth up to €77 million.
After a slightly disappointing stint at Old Trafford, Lukaku will now get the chance to resurrect his career and become the center piece of Inter’s project under new manager Antonio Conte. Conte has long since been an admirer of the Belgian and has spoken of his admiration for Lukaku all summer in the hopes that a deal would go through.
“You know very well that I like this player but also in the past when I was Chelsea’s coach and tried to bring him to Chelsea. I like this player and consider him an important player for us to have a good improvement but at the same [time] there is a transfer market”.
Lukaku confirmed that he is likewise a big fan of Conte, who was one of the main reasons he decided to join the Nerazzurri.
“For me [Antonio Conte] is the best manager in the world. He’s someone that can make players better all the time, you can see his record. Everything is present here to help me and I wish I can help my teammates with my hard work and dedication and I hope we can have a good result at the end of the season. I’m just delighted to join this beautiful club”.
At Inter, Lukaku will form what promises to be a lethal strike partnership with Argentine Lautaro Martínez in Conte’s trademark 3-5-2 formation. Although he was the first choice striker over Lautaro last season, Mauro Icardi’s future in Milan has been cast in further doubt following Lukaku’s arrival.
Antonio Conte has made no secret of the fact that he does not want Icardi at Inter next season, repeatedly making public statements that Icardi has no future in Milan. Lukaku has effectively taken Icardi’s place in the squad and was even given the #9, which belonged to the former Inter captain, another sign that he is absolutely not a part of Conte’s plan for the side going forward.
A few years ago, Icardi leaving Inter would’ve been catastrophic but such is the great work of the The Suning Group, Inter’s Chinese owners, the club is now able to push Icardi out and replace him with another world-class striker. For years, Icardi and his wife/agent Wanda Nara have caused headaches for Inter’s management with Wanda’s frequent public criticisms of Inter and its players. After years of tolerated grievances, club have decided enough is enough and kicked Icardi to the curb, moving forward instead with Lukaku.
Although he is only 26 years old, Lukaku is already Belgium’s top scorer of all time and has scored over 100 Premier League goals. If he can replicate that same sort of goal scoring form at the San Siro, Inter’s fans will forget all about Icardi.