How brilliant is new Manchester United man Romelu Lukaku?

Manchester United have smashed the British transfer record for him, but how much do you actually know about a 24-year-old with an acronym for a name?

Romelu Lukaku has joined Manchester United after four seasons at Everton
Romelu Lukaku has joined Manchester United after four seasons at Everton ©Getty Images

Manchester United smashed the British transfer record to sign Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku from Everton on Monday – but what is it about the 24-year-old that has made him such hot property? investigates.

What they say

"Romelu is a natural fit for Manchester United. He is a big personality and a big player. It is only natural that he wants to develop his career at the biggest club."
José Mourinho, Manchester United manager

"At the age of 23, I always believed he had the possibility of becoming the best No9 in world football because he has absolutely everything."
Roberto Martínez, Belgium coach

Current tally

Lukaku celebrates for Belgium
Lukaku celebrates for Belgium©AFP/Getty Images

International: 57 appearances, 20 goals
UEFA club competition: 27 appearances, 13 goals
Domestic competition: 317 appearances, 145 goals

Claims to fame

▪ One of 13 youth players who joined Anderlecht in 2006 from relegated Lierse, for whom he had scored 121 goals in 68 youth games.

Lukaku in the colours of Anderlecht
Lukaku in the colours of Anderlecht©Getty Images

▪ Lukaku became the youngest player to appear for Anderlecht when he made his debut just 11 days after his 16th birthday on 24 May 2009 – in a Belgian championship decider against Standard Liège (a 1-0 loss).

▪ Scored 20 minutes into his top-flight debut against Zulte Waregem, a nonchalant back-heel to convert a low cross. "After scoring I dived into a sea of happiness," he said.

▪ Still only 16, he was the 15-goal top scorer in his first full season in the Belgian top flight as Anderlecht won the title.

▪ Went one goal better the following season but Anderlecht missed out on the championship. Promptly joined Chelsea, taking the No18 shirt.

▪ Failed to find the net in 15 outings for Chelsea in all competitions. Indeed, he made only one league start in three seasons on their books – a man-of-the-match performance against Blackburn on the final day of 2011/12.

▪ Spent 2012/13 and 2013/14 on loan at West Brom (17 goals) and Everton (16) respectively.

▪ One of only four players – after Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney – to reach 80 Premier League goals before the age of 24. Now has 85.

▪ Finished last term with 25 Premier League goals, making him the first Everton player since Gary Lineker in 1985/86 to score 20 or more in the league in a season.

Lukaku fires in against Leicester
Lukaku fires in against Leicester©Getty Images

▪ His 68 Premier League goals for Everton is more than any other player has scored for the club.

▪ Scored in nine successive home league games during the 2016/17 campaign, matching the club record set by Dixie Dean in 1934.

▪ One of only three players – along with Olivier Giroud and Sergio Agüero – to have scored more than ten Premier League goals in each of the past five seasons.

▪ Third youngest player to appear for Belgium, winning his first cap aged 16 against Croatia in February 2010.

▪ Scored first senior goals for country aged 17 in November 2010 in a 2-0 friendly away to Russia.

▪ Hit two against Croatia in 2013 as Belgium qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time in three attempts.

What you might not know

▪ The name Romelu is an acronym, composed of the first two letters of his father's three names: Roger Menama Lukaku.

Jordan and Romelu
Jordan and Romelu©AFP

▪ Lukaku has a rich footballing pedigree. His father Roger was capped at international level by Zaire and younger brother Jordan plays for Lazio at left-back, the same position cousin Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo hopes to occupy at new club Rapid Wien.

▪ Lukaku speaks Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Lingala, English and also understands German.

What he says

"When Manchester United and José Mourinho come knocking at the door, it is an opportunity of a lifetime and one that I could not turn down. I cannot wait to run out at Old Trafford in front of 75,000 fans."

"I don't like people talking to me about the Champions League [in 2011/12, when Chelsea won]. It wasn't me, but my team that won. When [Salomon] Kalou put the cup on my lap in the bus I asked him to take it away immediately. I didn't want to touch it because I had no part in it at all."

What he might achieve yet

▪ Still only 24, Lukaku (20 goals in 57 games) is well on his way to setting new Belgium highs for most appearances (96, Jan Ceulemans) and goals (30, Bernard Voorhoof and Paul Van Himst).

▪ Lukaku is yet to score a UEFA Champions League goal but the Belgian record of 17 set by Luc Nilis and Paul Van Himst may not be beyond his reach. Nilis, with 36, holds the national record for goals in major UEFA club competitions.