Romelu Lukaku is incapable of offering what Manchester United need, says Paul Ince, with the Red Devils being warned they are now stuck with a striker they cannot mould.
Jose Mourinho invested £75 million ($96m) luring the Belgian away from Everton in the summer of 2017 and was rewarded with a 27-goal return during his debut campaign.
That is a healthy haul for any frontman, but Lukaku did endure the odd dip and faced questions regarding his suitability to the style of football being demanded by the Old Trafford faithful.
More criticism has been shot in his direction this term, with Mourinho admitting that the 25-year-old is low in confidence, and Ince has now questioned what he brings to the fold.
After watching a proven goalscorer toil in his latest Champions League outing, the former Red Devils midfielder told Paddy Power News: "It looked like Romelu Lukaku was trying to do something against Juventus - the only issue is, no matter how hard he tried, he just wasn’t capable.
"When you’re at United, you must perform at a seven or eight out of 10 every week. I’m not sure he has the ability to do that. He should be the focal point of the team."
Part of the worry for Ince is that Lukaku is now so set in his ways that he cannot be nurtured into becoming the type of attacking focal point inconsistent United are crying out for.
The ex-England international added: "He’s 25 years old now, he’s not going to change. The Lukaku you have now is the Lukaku you’re always going to have, that’s what you’ve got to work with.
"It’s obvious that he needs help. There’s no doubt that he can score goals, you can see it from his record. But playing for United is about more than just that.
"He constantly loses the ball, throughout every game. But as an ex-player, if my control and retention of the ball wasn’t great, I’d be out there every single afternoon getting it right. I’ve been a manager of players, centre-forwards, who’s control was off. I’ve worked with them to improve.
"It makes you wonder what he’s working on in training, because we’ve never seen an improvement on it."
Lukaku has mustered just four goals this season, with the most recent of those coming back on September 15 against Watford.
He has seen a barren run stretched to eight games after drawing a blank against Juventus, with his next opportunity to rediscover his spark set to come against former employers Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday.