Romelu Lukaku Reportedly Concerned About Jose Mourinho, Manchester United Future

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2018

Manchester United's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku warms up for the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 5, 2018. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Romelu Lukaku is reportedly concerned about his future at Manchester United after being relegated to the bench by manager Jose Mourinho for recent matches.

The Sun's Mike McGrath reported how the Belgium international "would weigh up a move away from Old Trafford if his spell out of the team continues."

There's a chance it might since Mourinho told Lukaku he "is no longer an automatic choice" after United drew 2-2 at home to Arsenal in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Lukaku has started just two of United's last six matches in all competitions. While he's come off the bench in most games, the powerhouse centre-forward has lost his place as a lock in Mourinho's best starting XI.

Inconsistent form in front of goal hasn't helped, with Mourinho prompted to make changes up top amid the Red Devils' struggles. However, the manager's decisions are said to be leaving many of his star names unhappy, with McGrath also naming Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez as players grumbling about Mourinho's stewardship.

Lukaku is said to have joined Sanchez and Pogba as big-name United stars unhappy with Mourinho.
Lukaku is said to have joined Sanchez and Pogba as big-name United stars unhappy with Mourinho.Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

While Pogba and Sanchez are mercurial talents who have had trouble adapting to life at Old Trafford, Lukaku looked crucial to Mourinho plans. He appeared to be a player the manager could rely on after being an almost ever-present during the 2017/18 campaign.

Things have changed this season, though, with United mired in eighth place and struggling for goals. Mourinho's men have found the net just 24 times during 15 matches, a major reason they find themselves eight points outside the top four and 18 behind leaders Manchester City.

Lukaku's patchy form has defined United's largely turgid football in the final third. He did score in a 2-2 draw at Southampton earlier this month to break a barren spell totalling almost 1,000 minutes.

His goal against the Saints also put the former Chelsea and Everton forward in select company:

However, an impressive career tally to date can't mask how much Lukaku has been struggling, particularly on home soil:

The contrasting numbers sum up a striker who is difficult to define. Lukaku has the coolness of a natural finisher but lacks the technique to be an intuitive link player.

His inability to thrive in a collective game has held United back, but there is still reason to believe Lukaku can be a hit at Old Trafford. He's a more effective centre-forward than Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial or Sanchez, provided he keeps his game simple.

Lukaku has the pace to spin in behind and stretch defences, as well as the physical power to outmuscle markers and bully teams in the air. The 25-year-old can be prolific with the right supply, namely a healthy number of crosses into the box and accurate long passes over the top.

It's up to Mourinho to gear his team's approach to Lukaku, not the other way around. If he does, Mourinho will find the player he paid £75 million for last summer is still a striker he can rely on.  

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