He’s Lethal As Always! – Why Re-Signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic Makes Total Sense For Manchester United
Manchester United made a massive move in re-signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic after releasing him post the expiry of his one year contract at the end of last season. After much speculation, the signing was confirmed by the club yesterday. (Source: Official United Website)
The Swede hadn’t played since April this year, after picking up a knee injury in the Red Devils’ UEFA Europa League quarter-finals against Anderlecht and United decided to not offer a new contract to the big man, but allowed him to continue his recuperation from his knee surgery at the club’s Carrington training complex.
It was thought that the 35-year old will be ruled out till the start of the next calendar year, but now the former PSG man is well ahead on his road to recovery and could be back as early as November.
United may have signed Romelu Lukaku in a mega deal to fill in Ibrahimović’s boots, but signing back the giant Swede makes total sense for the club.
The 35-year old finished his debut season in England with brilliant a return of 28 goals in 46 outings in all competitions, top-scoring for United. Until his injury, he was almost a permanent fixture in almost every game for the Red Devils, indicating his supreme level of fitness. The former Barcelona striker was the driving force behind United’s EFL Cup triumph and played an important role in the Europa League campaign as well.
Yes, he might not offer the same level of dynamism to the attack that has been seen since Lukaku’s arrival at the Old Trafford. Last campaign, that was a problem for the Red Devils, as they seemed to lack that pace and exuberance in the final third. This has been a strong feature of their gameplay this time around, that has seen them notch up two 4-0 wins in the Premier League already, against West Ham United and Swansea City.
But, the sheer amount of experience that he will bring to the table is enough to have him in the squad. The forward will turn 36 in October, and he will have to accept that he might not be as regularly involved as he was last season, with Lukaku doing an excellent job since his arrival. However, considering the Belgian’s lack of experience in European competitions, having Ibrahimović will prove to be extremely advantageous for United.
Apart from a handful of members of the squad, United do lack players with a great degree of know-how and experience in the UEFA Champions League in their ranks. The likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Lukaku himself have hardly played in Europe’s top footballing competition. This is where Ibrahimović could prove highly useful for the club, with his years of knowledge.
The Swedish phenomenon has that aura about himself that tends to bring confidence in the rest of his teammates. He is a leader on the field, in the dressing room and is an inspirational figure for many a youngster in the United ranks and that was very much visible last season. Having him in the squad, even if it’s in a reduced role, could turn out to be a major confidence booster.
If one takes a look at United’s most successful teams under Sir Alex Ferguson, they were known for having world-class attacking options to come off the bench. Zlatan is someone who Jose Mourinho trusts and believes in. The 6ft 5in striker has the ability to change the course of the game in a matter of seconds with a moment of magic. He might not be involved as much as last year, but having him on the bench to come on late and kill off the games would be an enticing prospect.