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£65m Man United target shouldn’t make move while LVG’s around

| 20.01.2016

Throwing cash at the Manchester United squad is fast becoming Louis van Gaal’s go-to strategy at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman has been only too happy to spend big on new recruits for the Red Devils, so Everton’s attempt to scare him off by whacking a £65m price tag on their in-form striker Romelu Lukaku may prove futile.

Whether Van Gaal is willing to stump up such a fee or not shouldn’t really be an issue though, as the Belgian wouldn’t even consider playing for the 64-year-old tactician if he had any sense.

Lukaku has quickly developed into a reliable top-flight goalscorer since a 2012/13 loan spell with West Brom exposed him to regular first-team football. In that time he has come to rely heavily on a particular type of service.

A traditional number 9 in the same mould as Alan Shearer, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Didier Drogba, Lukaku is a deadly operator inside the 18-yard box. To emphasise that point, 48 of his 52 top-flight goals in the past four seasons have come from inside the area.

The biggest reason for the 22-year-old’s flourishing form this term is Everton’s happiness to play to their Belgian goalgetter’s strengths. Gerard Deulofeu has been the chief provider from the right wing and has assisted Lukaku on six goals, which is the joint most fruitful partnership in the league.

Should he swap Goodison Park for Old Trafford, Lukaku would find his opportunities to feast in his preferred area of the pitch severely hampered.

Man United have put less crosses into the box than the Toffees this term and have registered fewer goal attempts inside the area than Roberto Martinez’s men.

Van Gaal has been roundly criticised for his repeated slow build-up play through the middle of the pitch, a tactic that clearly wouldn’t suit a predator like Lukaku.

Even if the 3/4 top-four hopefuls do land Lukaku, there’s no guarantee that Van Gaal would change that style to fit the new arrival.

Anthony Martial is a good example of the Dutchman’s stubbornness. He arrived for a large sum at the end of the previous transfer window and offered extreme pace to his new club’s front line.

However, Van Gaal has tended to utilise the French youngster’s speed on the wing rather than ask him to stretch the play in behind opposing centre halves.

There is little doubt that Lukaku is accelerating towards a big move away from Everton, but if he wants to make Man United his next step he must wait until after the Van Gaal era.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.