RAFAEL BACKS LUKAKU TO SUCCEED

Submitted by isport on Fri, 08/25/2017 - 12:35

Former Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva feels Romelu Lukaku has the potential to become a top player under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho. The Belgium international joined the Red Devils from Everton earlier last month after they finalised an initial £75m for his transfer.

Speaking to Omni Sport, Rafael, who won three Premier League titles at Old Trafford between 2008 and 2015, recalls Lukaku bagging an impressive hat-trick for West Bromwich Albion during the 5-5 draw against United in the final game of the 2012-2013 season.

And the 27-year-old thinks that the Belgian will prove to be an "excellent signing" for his old club, should he keep his consistency in terms of goalscoring. He said: "I've seen Lukaku play at Everton and a bit at Chelsea. I saw him also when we were champions, and he was in West Brom, [which was] maybe my best time in Manchester. For me, he is a good player and is at a good age, an age he can evolve, but if he keeps what he did last year and in the last two or three years, he will be an excellent signing."

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Meanwhile, Rafael's team-mate Alexandre Lacazette also made the switch to the Premier League with Arsenal earlier this summer, and the right-back does not expect the Frenchman to take long to adapt to the English game. Lacazette has got a fair share of his goals through penalties with former club Lyon, but Rafael believes that the Frenchman will turn out to be a success with the Gunners.

The two-time Brazil international has cemented his place as the first-choice with Lyon in recent seasons, and he will undoubtedly be eyeing some form of silverware this term after the club were surprisingly ousted by a young Ajax squad in the semi-final of last season's Europa League. Lyon have struggled to keep up with Ligue 1's best over the past few years, and their aim would still be to finish in the top-three positions.

Rafa also admitted that he was surprised that Chelsea agreed to sell Nemanja Matic to Manchester United although he is happy the powers that be at Stamford Bridge deemed it fit to ship off the Serbian.

In what looks like a decision the Blues might come to regret sooner than later if the opening match day of the English Premier League is anything to go by, the former Red Devils star, admits that the quality that oozes from Matic makes his sale all the more curious.

As if laying aground the likely picture the season might carry, the Blues suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of Burnley on Saturday afternoon and 24 hours later, the newly signed defensive midfielder at Old Trafford marshaled Jose Mourinho’s men to a 4-0 hammering of not so easy a side West Ham.

That the Serb’s performance earned him the Man of the Match award despite the goals coming from Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku paints enough picture of his individual dominance of the middle of the park on his debut nonetheless. The more reason Chelsea’s decision looks baffling.

“Actually I’m [surprised] but at the same time I am very happy that they have got him. Matic does a big job on the pitch. He tries to recover all the balls. He defensively does a big job. Lukaku scored his goals and Lindelof is still going to have time to show himself.”

This is not the first time that Chelsea discarded quality squad members to direct title rivals. Glen Johnson and Frank Lampard will give a nod to that fact owing to their surprise sales to Liverpool (following Portsmouth stint) and Manchester City respectively.

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