By 90Min
July 09, 2019

The Serie A title race may have been done and dusted by Christmas in the 2018/19 campaign, but Inter are already pulling out all the stops to ensure they can go the distance next season. 

Serial winner Antonio Conte was already waiting in the wings before the curtain had even fallen on Luciano Spaletti's tenure at the San Siro, and the wheels are in motion to build on last season's fourth-placed finish, securing Champions League football on the final day of the campaign. 

Bruna Prado/GettyImages

Inter have already announced the signing of brick wall Diego Godin to partner Milan Skriniar, which will put the fear of God into every striker in Serie A. Alongside last season's purchase Stefan De Vrij, it's clear that they have the defensive personnel ready to be whipped into shape by Conte. 


The big news comes from the top end of the pitch however,  as the new Inter boss has set his sights on a very ambitious centre-forward to lead the line for his side next year. The Nerazzurri are prepared to pay the asking price set by Manchester United to bring Romelu Lukaku to Italy, but is he the player Inter need to close the gap on their rivals Juventus?

There is no doubt that Lukaku has the potential to become one of Europe's top strikers, and ever since his arrival to the Premier League, he has threatened to become a prolific goalscorer. 'Threatened' however, being the operative word. 


Lukaku's goal record glosses over the true form he has shown, having looked very out of place in the United system during his second season, and occasionally taking on the form of a giraffe falling down a flight of stairs whilst trying to control the ball. Lukaku's 12 goals last season may look respectable at first glance, but dig a little and you could unearth a serious concern for potential suitors.

Romelu Lukaku

Brighton, Burnley, Watford, Southampton, Fulham, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Crystal Palace. 


These were the only sides the Belgian managed to score against in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign. This alarming statistic does not even hint at a big-game striker who scores clutch goals in key matches. Instead, it screams 'flat-track bully.' 


Aside from the domestic trials and tribulations, Conte will be hoping to take his new side as far as possible in the Champions League next season. The only criticism leveled at the Italian during his time as Juventus manager was his failure to win the big European trophy, and he'll be keen to rectify that under the bright lights of the San Siro. 


A quick glance at Lukaku's European statistics tells a damning story. Granted, he was gifted a brace by a PSG defence which was equally as generous as it was traumatised by their 2017 collapse at the Camp Nou. Other than that inexplicable evening in Paris, Lukaku failed to find the back of the net in any of his other Champions League matches.   


If Inter are looking for a man to make the difference against their rivals at the top of the table, or to pick the lock in a tight and cagey affair, they should look elsewhere. Besides, the Nerazzurri have a ready-made champion in Lautaro Martinez, desperate to fill the boots of talisman Mauro Icardi. The young Argentine's performances in the Copa América this summer suggest he's primed to carry the torch left behind by his troubled international counterpart. 

MAURO PIMENTEL/GettyImages

Lukaku has clearly shown that to get the best out of him, he needs to be considered the main man and to have the complete trust of his manager. His relationship with ex-Everton and current Belgium manager Roberto Martinez highlights this perfectly. His belief in the big striker has propelled Lukaku to the top of his nation's scoring chart, and he looks a different prospect every time he pulls on the Belgium shirt. 


The big question with Lukaku is if he can replicate his best form on the big stage, and Inter is one of the grandest and most intimidating in Europe. He will have to rely heavily on the confidence of his manager, and those with longer memories may question the loyalty of a man who, during his Chelsea reign, dumped star striker Diego Costa by text message. 

Clive Rose/GettyImages

As Juve go through the gears in the transfer window, the pressure intensifies on Inter to find the right characters to match the Old Lady. Blowing a huge chunk of their budget on Lukaku however, may have the opposite effect and end up pushing them even further away from the Serie A summit. 

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