Both players have just made big money moves to two of the Premier League’s prestige sides. The Egyptian and Belgian will both hope challenge for honours next season. Both are considered flops with the current champions, Chelsea, but have excelled since elsewhere. They’ve got something to prove and the ability to prove it. But who’s going to be the better signing? Salah V Lukaku.
Salah V Lukaku: Why Salah could be better
Jurgen Klopp already came clean about why he signed the Egyptian international. It was his pace. Salah tore up Serie A last season with Roma, scoring 15 goals in 31 games and contributing hugely to the goal machine that Edin Dzeko became for the Italian side too. There’s a lot riding on his transfer.
For one thing, Liverpool are desperate to avoid the collapse that occurred last season when Sadio Mane departed for the African Cup of Nations. That gave rise to questions over whether the side was, after all, a one man club. Salah, of course, as an Egyptian, will be no help when the next African Cup of Nations comes round, but should slot in very easily to a fluid, pacey and aggressive forward line that seems to define Liverpool’s play these days.
Interestingly, Salah’s preference for playing on the right may force Sadio mane to switch flanks to the left hand side, meaning Coutinho is freed up to play a deeper role Klopp seems keen for the Brazilian to develop. Of equal interest will be how the addition of Salah will effect Roberto Firmino. While it is a strong attack, there’s no doubt it would benefit from a decisive centre forward scoring more regularly than the Brazil striker managed last season. Salah worked hard enough to assist Dzeko to his goal rate last season in Serie A. There’s hope Firmino could profit from a similar attitide from the Egyptian this season.
There’s talk of a switch to a more fluid, more attacking Liverpool next season. Salah should make a huge difference there. When we ask Salah V Lukaku, we maybe have to think about how the signings will effect general tactics.
Salah V Lukaku: Why Lukaku could be better
Goals. It’s what Manchester United lacked last season. How many games did the Red Devils dominate and deserve to kill off but somehow missed opportunity after opportunity? Zlatan weighed in with all he could last season, but a young, still developing forward line featuring Martial, Rashford and Lingard isn’t mature enough yet to fully support a title tilt, let alone a go at the European Cup. They’ll need time to gel. They’ll also need a fast, powerful, mobile, free-scoring striker to anchor their movements and centre their focus. Enter Lukaku. In his last 3 seasons, the Belgian has netted 20, 26 and 25 goals respectively for an Everton side not exactly renowned for attacking prowess.
Last season he scored 6 with his head, 7 with his right foot and 12 with his left. He scored from the spot and with a free kick. He took 110 shots for the whole season with a shooting accuracy of 50%. United will need even better from him and it seems likely they’ll get it. With Mata, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, perhaps Zlatan (if he stays) and potentially Perisic from Inter, United start to look like having a forward line to compare with the best.
What will be interesting is how he’ll slot into the attack. He’ll need to brush up on his passing, which fell to a 65% career low last season but Mourinho can depend on a player at ease with holding the ball up. He’ll need to start performing against the bigger sides too, which should happen with the kind of service he’ll be getting in the red shirt. More than anything, he’ll need to deal with his price tag. It’s something which weighs heavy on some players and even Pogba had to struggle his way out of its shadow early on in the season. It remains to be seen if Lukaku can step up and do the same, if he can it will mean a massive difference to Old Trafford. In the contest of Salah V Lukaku, the goals might just make the difference.
So Lukaky v Salah, who do you think is the better signing? Vote and comment below!