August 22, 2017
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a name that is synonymous throughout world football. He has won the league at every club he has played at to date bar one – Manchester United. It was supposed to be a footballing marriage sent from the Gods when Ibrahimovic signed for United on a free transfer last summer, but divorce came quicker than anyone could have anticipated with the horrible injury sustained against Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter final. It didn’t stop him leading the scoring charts at the club, And many doubters were silenced as the mercurial Swede proved he can do it just about anywhere. His contract was cancelled, but rehabilitation in Manchester was undertaken and is now almost complete. Talks are Ibrahimovic is coming back.
In the three seasons previous to last, goals were hard to come by. And even last term without the contribution from Ibrahimovic, United found great difficulty in putting the small spherical thing into the large rectangular thing. His introduction was a much-needed improvement in this area, but so far in 2017/18 United seem free-scoring with eight notched in two games (nine in three if you’re the technical type) with new signing Romelu Lukaku bagging three league goals, and rejuvenated Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial contributing two apiece, the benefit of Ibrahimovic is perhaps less obvious than on first arrival.
Stuart Pearce has thrown his two pence in, report Sky Sports, and he believes that Ibrahimovic would provide a wonderful alternative to the threat posed by Lukaku, and it’s difficult not to agree. It appears, on the surface, that Jose Mourinho is reverting to the ‘United Way’ with pace and cut throat counterattacking football designed to obliterate opponents. Certainly, against the so-called “lesser sides” in the league this will be the case and it is a style that requires players of Lukaku’s ilk with his blistering pace and ability to run with the ball. But question marks over the Belgians’ first touch remain commonplace and would hinder the more reserved fashion in which Mourinho tends to seek comfort against rivals in the top six. That’s where Ibrahimovic comes in.
You cannot even begin to question his ability to trap a football, it almost seems to stick to him. And his physicality is one of a number of phenomenal assets Ibrahimovic holds. He suits the laboured, more cautious style of play where he isn’t required to use the little pace he has remaining in his battle-worn legs. He could then be used to bring in the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial who appear so deadly this time round. It would also provide another on-field education for the pair who will surely be aiming to be the future of United in years to come.
It isn’t a surprise that Mourinho has kept Ibrahimovic this close and is now seeking his name permanently. If anyone thinks it is a coincidence then perhaps you need to look harder in future. It’s a potential move that is as exciting now as it was when it first happened, the difference this time is his goals are being added to more goals. If Zlatan Ibrahimovic re-signs for Manchester United, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he continued his proud record of winning the league everywhere he has gone.