Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Man Utd better, quicker and have title hopes without ace – Paul Merson

Zlatan IbrahimovicGETTY

Zlatan Ibrahimovic faces a tougher battle to get into Manchester United’s starting XI this term

That is according to player-turned-pundit Paul Merson.

Ibrahimovic’s comeback at Old Trafford was confirmed yesterday on a one-year deal.

Following his release earlier this summer due to his anterior cruciate knee ligament injury, the 35-year-old has now re-signed.

Ibrahimovic has recovered quickly and is said to be targeting a return to action around late October.

The striker finished as United’s top scorer last season, despite his own campaign coming to an end in April.

Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals and was replaced by £75m signing Romelu Lukaku.

“As time moves on now, Manchester United are a better team without him”

Paul Merson

Jose Mourinho’s United have looked far more potent in attack already, scoring eight goals in two matches.

And Merson feels their veteran hitman should be overlooked in the team for the sake of success.

“This man is a legend, I don’t use that word loosely, he’s an absolute legend, he’s won titles in seven different countries, you don’t do that by luck,” Merson said on Sky Sports’ The Debate.

“But as time moves on now, Manchester United are a better team without him in it, and they’ve got a better chance of winning the Premier League without him.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of this lad over the years, I think he’s been phenomenal.

“People said he was great last year, scored 28 goals, but Manchester United never looked like winning the Premier League last year.

“You look at them now, with him out of the team, you’ve got Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford going forward, you’ve got Henrikh Mkhitaryan putting balls through the eye of a needle.

“They’re playing 100mph, and so far nobody can live with them.

“That wasn’t them last season, they were too slow.

“Le Tiss and I have played No 10, and you need pace up front [in front of you], and if you haven’t got pace, it’s pointless playing a No 10, because there’s not a lot you can do.”

Lukaku has scored twice in United’s two games and is set to lead the line again when Leicester visit tomorrow (5.30pm).