Inter legend Aldo Serena has offered his thoughts on Romelu Lukaku, insisting his unselfish nature makes him an upgrade on Mauro Icardi.
The striker joined from Manchester United in an €80m deal in the summer, with Icardi sent out to Paris Saint-Germain on loan.
Lukaku has scored 17 goals in 23 Serie A games, as well as providing two assists, as Antonio Conte’s side sit top of the table.
The Coach made clear immediately after his arrival that he had no place for Icardi in his plans, despite the Argentine’s desire to stay at San Siro, with both the striker and midfielder Radja Nainggolan sent out on loan.
Serena, who made 223 appearances for Inter and scored 22 goals to help win the Scudetto in 1988-89 believes the Belgian has been a huge upgrade on the troublesome former captain.
“Conte wanted him at all costs and now the reason is obvious,” Serena said in an interview with Corriere della Sport.
“He has excellent physical and technical skills, he’s generous and unselfish. Above all, he’s a guide. I’m not surprised he’s doing well, the €80million paid by Inter has been justified.
“Conte couldn’t use Icardi as a reference point, he’s a great finisher but he’s not a guide. He doesn’t drag his teammates forward.
“Icardi plays for himself, Lukaku for others.”
The arrival of Lukaku has also benefited Lautaro Martinez, who has 16 goals in all competitions already this season.
“Last year he sometimes tried to overdo it, he wanted to prove everything right away. I think Lautaro was lucky that Inter didn’t manage to get a deal for [Edin] Dzeko over the line.
“He immediately clicked with Lukaku and then his qualities shone through.
“He’s quick thinking, very fast in stopping and shooting, he works across the whole attack and presses very well.
“Perhaps he needs to improve his temper though.
“Both Lukaku and Lautaro can play alone if one of them is missing, but I see [Alexis] Sanchez finding himself and I think [Sebastiano] Esposito is a precious gem, Inter did well not to sell him.
“He has a lot of personality and he can become very strong.”
The Nerazzurri take on Lazio tomorrow night and Serena was asked for his prediction.
He replied: “I don’t know, all I know is that they’ll experience it as though it were a final. Let’s not forget that Juve are playing in Brescia in the afternoon. If they win, as is likely, Inter and Lazio can’t afford missteps.
“The Scudetto? Juventus are favourites. Even if they’re struggling they have a superior squad and more quality.
“Inter’s challenge will depend a lot on how Conte approaches the Europa League. If he rotates his squad they’ll have the gas to go to the end.
“I think Lazio have matured in every respect, they know how to win dirty games and they don’t have the commitment of the cup competitions.
“I like to think there will be uncertainty until the end, as hasn’t happened in recent years.”