Wednesday 18 October 2017 / 12:16 AM

LUKAKU THE FIRST PIECE OF JOSE’S UNITED PUZZLE

I’m not one of these people that say “I told you so” much, but I have to say that I was always sceptical about Alvaro Morata joining Manchester United, regardless of what the press had to say on the matter.

It always seemed like an awfully big risk for an awfully large amount of money, and to be frank, this is not the kind of risk that Jose Mourinho can realistically take.

If we’re honest, Mourinho will not have been happy about last year.

Okay, so United ended up with two trophies (three, if – like Jose – you count the Community Shield) and sneaked into the Champions League.

But was sixth really good enough when you consider the outlay? The hype?

Mourinho’s own proclamation that he was going for the title?

No. It’s not good enough.

And although the end-of-season triumph served to placate the fans and the board, the reality is that Mourinho knows that another season like last year will see him looking for another job.

United might be patient, but they’re not that patient.

Which means something simple: a meaningful part in the title race is the bare minimum that United will accept.

Enter Romelu Lukaku.

Unlike Morata, Lukaku has proven Premier League experience.

Unlike Morata, Lukaku has regularly started for his previous club.

In every sense of the word, Lukaku is the more sensible choice for Mourinho, but the question is: will he be enough?

Keen observers of United’s gameplay last season will have noted that the Red Devils did struggle to score goals.

Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contribution, the situation would have been even direr, but even with the Swede, United still scored 32 less goals that top scorers Spurs.

Lukaku should help to solve that problem – the Belgian is a proven goalscorer and should guarantee at least 20 Premier League goals next year.

But one player’s ability to put the ball in the back of the net is not the be-all and end-all, especially if that player doesn’t receive enough service.

Mourinho’s team played a stilted, stifled game last year that was short on chances and light on entertainment.

This must change if Mourinho is serious about being a player in the title race, and with that in kind, we can expect more new recruits in the next few weeks.

It really is a case of go big or go home for Mourinho – Lukaku is his first major move, and we’ll see what else he has up his sleeve in due course.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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