BBC sports has confirmed that the Red Devils will exercise their option to extend Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s deal beyond next summer and until the end of the 2017-18 season.
This is following his explosive form in front of goal for the club since arriving on a free this summer, with the club having been convinced that the player, who has 6 Premier League goals so far is able to help their cause.
With that set to happen, here are 2 pros and cons that come with Manchester United’s contract extension of the 35-year-old.
Rashford’s earlier swift growth as a number 9 continues to suffer
Last season witnessed the emergence of whizkid Marcus Rashford from within the youth ranks of Manchester United. And this season was supposed to be his breakthrough season as an out-and-out striker.
But he has had to settle for a role on the wings in the Premier and Europa Leagues, with him only getting the chance to play in his primary and best position in the EFL Cup.
Zlatan’s arrival has brought somewhat of a halt to the improvement Rashford was supposed to continue making as a number 9, and the teenage sensation now has to continue as a winger at least, until the end of next season.
It could mean less playing chances for Martial
Ibrahimovic was given the number 9 Jersey upon making his heralded Old Trafford switch. The Swede didn’t just deprive the French youngster, Anthony Martial, of his prized Jersey, his arrival has also made the 20-year-old more of a bit-part role player at the club.
While the positions of the 2 don’t clash, Zlatan’s untouchable status as the club’s main striker means more competition for the club’s forwards as far as jostling for the other attacking positions left goes.
Martial had seemingly earlier secured one for himself on the left wing until the former PSG star made his entry. With him now set to remain for another one year, Martial, who is still growing and bound to make mistakes will have to do with the little playing time that will be afforded him.
And that’s not particularly good for his confidence and development.
A title – provided he remains on form
Despite concerns over if Zlatan, who will be 36 years of age 2 months after next season starts might find it hard to lead United’s attack and get the job done, his current condition is convincing enough.
The towering goal machine has continued to make sacrifices just to keep in shape, and he won’t be stepping down on the gas anytime soon.
His physical state is just fine. And he is like a fine wine that gets better with age. By next season, he would have gotten fully used to the pace of the EPL and tailored his playing style towards getting the best out of himself on the pitch
Having won a trophy every season since 2001, including 13 league titles, chances are that he would help United land a silverware this or/and next season. And you can’t rule the club out of the title race this season or in the next one that hasn’t even come.
More mentoring and leadership for the youngsters
Zlatan’s presence in the United dressing room is unarguably a big source of inspiration to the crop of talented young potentials in the senior team.
While their playing chances might be limited because of him, there is no denying that they do get the opportunity to learn from one of the best strikers to ever grace the game.
They get to have more of that for another season, and it sure would go a long way in making them better professional footballers, both on and off the pitch.