Man United consider re-signing Chelsea flop if Zirkzee transfer falls through

France v Belgium: Round of 16 - UEFA EURO 2024
France v Belgium: Round of 16 - UEFA EURO 2024 / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

Manchester United are reportedly weighing up a shock move to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Old Trafford if their pursuit of Joshua Zirkzee falls through, according to reports from Calciomercato.

The Red Devils are in dire need of attacking reinforcements after finishing a disappointing eighth in the Premier League last season, largely due to a lack of goalscoring threat. Manager Erik ten Hag is known to prefer strikers who remain central and bring other players into play in the final third, and whilst Zirkzee is the preferred candidate, competition from Arsenal and AC Milan has complicated the signing.

Enter Lukaku, who previously donned the United shirt between 2017 and 2019, scoring an impressive 42 goals and providing 12 assists in 96 appearances across all competitions. Despite his impressive stats, the Belgian striker's tenure was marked by inconsistency, leading to his eventual transfer to Inter Milan.

Since rejoining Chelsea in a staggering £97.5 million transfer in 2021, Lukaku has struggled to make his mark and has spent the past two seasons on loan at Inter Milan and Roma. The Blues are now keen to offload the 31-year-old permanently and are seeking a fee in the region of £34 million. Despite interest from Napoli and AC Milan, a long-term suitor has yet to materialise.

Lukaku's recent performances have been underwhelming, particularly in the Euro 2024 tournament, where he failed to score in Belgium's three group stage matches and the Round of 16 against France. This has led to significant criticism and trolling on social media, overshadowing his career achievements of nearly 400 senior goals and over 100 assists in more than 750 appearances for club and country.

Despite his recent struggles, Lukaku could fit Ten Hag's system better than Zirkzee. His ability to run at defences and his experience could complement the younger Rasmus Højlund, providing a balanced attacking duo. A short-term deal for Lukaku might offer a pragmatic solution for United's immediate needs whilst they continue to search for a long-term option.

The potential move for Lukaku is not without its risks. His recent form and the high transfer fee could be seen as significant drawbacks. However, his familiarity with the Premier League and his previous success at United could make him a valuable addition to the squad.

With Chelsea eager to offload the Belgian striker and United in need of firepower, a reunion could be on the horizon if the pursuit of Joshua Zirkzee does not come to fruition. Lukaku's current contract with Chelsea runs until June 2026, and he was the highest-paid player at Roma last season with around £150,000-a-week contract.