There was a lot of talk about Zlatan Ibrahimović and what he would do when he had recovered from his serious knee ligament injury. Some people suggested at 35 years old, he may even call it a day after his contract at Manchester United was left to expire and the club announced he would be released. Now, many people thought that the Ibrahimovic and Manchester United fairy tale was well and truly over but, they were wrong.
Manchester United have announced that the former Sweden International had penned a 1 year contract with the club.
Can he bring anything to the table though? That is the question. According to Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, Ibra will not be ready until at least January. So that raises a few doubts why he has signed now, if he is still months away from being fit to play a part in what should be a season where United are competing on all fronts. There is enough firepower in the Old Trafford ranks as it stands with the likes of Lukaku, Rashford and Martial. Paul Pogba has started weighing in with goals too. So do they actually need Ibrahimović?
You can’t get away from the fact that Ibra bagged 28 goals in 46 games last season, he even set up another 10 for teammates. There is no denying that the man can’t add further goals to his Manchester United record, which could, in turn, see the Premier League title as well as other honours return to Old Trafford. Players like Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford will also surely benefit from having someone such as Ibrahimović around too.
There’s been a difference though in the side that Ibrahimović played in and the one we are seeing now with Lukaku leading the line. The Manchester United of last season, the play was pretty slow, at times it even seemed defensive. It was a pragmatic approach, not one that saw the swashbuckling football many expect of Manchester United. This was by and large down to Ibrahimović. He isn’t a player who looks to get in behind, he’s not got much pace, so he comes short for the ball. This can slow teams down.
With Lukaku leading the line, flanked by the likes of Martial, Rashford and Mkhitaryan, United look so much more explosive going forward, at times, unstoppable. It remains to be seen whether you could just slot Ibra into the new system or whether there would have to be tweaks to accommodate the 35 year old. Reverting back to last year’s set up, you’d say it would make Manchester United weaker.
One thing is for certain though, if you’re chasing a game and you need to find a goal, having the option of bringing on Ibrahimović could be a god send. He’s a menace in the box because of his size and strength and you could rely on him to get you back into a game. Would he settle for a place on the bench though?