When Mauro Icardi fell out with the management of Inter, the fans of the black and blue club were left worried for the future of their attacking department without their former captain and talisman. Less than two years later, The Nerazzurri possess what is arguably the best striking partnership in the world in the form of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez.
So how did it all happen?
Martinez arrived at Appiano Gentile in 2018 as a 21-year-old prospect, but he initially failed to break into Luciano Spaletti’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
The former Racing Club star was rarely given the chance to play alongside Icardi, and when the latter was frozen out of the squad, the young man struggled in the lone striker role.
Nonetheless, it all changed for the Argentine with the arrival of Antonio Conte followed by Romelu Lukaku in the summer of 2019.
The former Juventus manager immediately thrusted the Belgian alongside Martinez in his 3-5-2 lineup, and the chemistry between the two attackers was plain to see from the get-go.
The numbers on the backs of their jerseys tell the whole story. Lukaku is a natural center forward (number 9), whilst Lautaro supports him with his pace, trickery and sublime touch (number 10).
Although the two stars had been impressive last season, they both managed to take their game up a notch in the current campaign.
Blessed with a stunning pace, extraordinary physical strength and a great finishing touch, the former Red Devil is surely becoming the most terrifying striker in the game.
However, Lautaro’s improvement shouldn’t be underestimated either. The Argentine is only 23, and still has so much room for improvement.
Compared to other striking departments, Inter’s attacking duo seems unique in the current era.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the greatest two players of their generation, but they both lack a reliable striking partner at the moment.
On the other hand, Robert Lewandowski is probably the best hitman on the planet, but the likes of Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané look more like a supporting crew – although an incredible one – rather than equal partners for the great Pole.
PSG possess a stunning attacking department – with Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Moise Kean and Icadi – but their starting formations keep varying due to recurring injuries.
Therefore, Lukaku and Lautaro might just be the best attacking pair in the world, but without some silverware, their claim will always be doubted.
Nevertheless, leading Inter towards a first Scudetto title in 11 years would be an encouraging start.