By Ollie Cranham-Young
- Zlatan Ibrahimović is rumoured to be joining United on a free transfer
- Is this potential deal a good one or bad one for Manchester United
Manchester United are rumoured to be close to signing Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović on a free transfer. Is this deal a good or bad one for United?
There is no doubt about it. Zlatan Ibrahimović is one of the greatest footballers in the world. Whatever your memory of him, be it the time he single-handedly put four goals past England or just simply the fact he is considered one of the best players in world football.
Following recent speculation, we thought it would be a perfect time to assess how the Swedish striker will perform for United in the coming months. Will he be a fantastic addition to the squad or a mere one-season wonder?
Zlatan is a prolific goalscorer
Almost immediately, the first thing that people notice about Zlatan is the prolific goal scoring record he holds. He is Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer and he has hit the back of the net for PSG more times than any other player in the club’s short lived history.
However Ibrahimović began his career at Malmo in the late 1990’s bagging 16 goals in 40 appearances before leaving for Ajax scoring 35 goals in just over 70 games for the club.
Following this, he moved to Juventus and Internazionale scoring 80 goals in just under 5 years in Italy. Zlatan then left for Spanish giants Barcelona but only managed 16 goals for the side before returning back to Italy to join AC Milan.
In the 2011-12 season, he managed 28 goals in 32 appearances for Milan before leaving for France. Ibrahimović has played 122 games for PSG and managed 113 goals in that time, giving him an excellent goals per game ratio of 0.93 goals per game.
Zlatan has also managed 62 goals for his country, so he certainly has no problems in finding the back of the net.
Zlatan’s experience could be key
Zlatan would be a brilliant addition to United in more ways than one. Firstly, the fact he is a prolific goalscorer and this has been a hole in United sides since Sir Alex left the helm three years ago. Impressively, Zlatan scored 53 goals in 50 appearances last season alone.
To put that in perspective, United only managed 49 goals in all competitions last campaign. Zlatan’s goal scoring record for last season averages out at more than a goal per game. He would certainly be the clinical finisher United have been lacking since Van Persie was scoring goals for fun in United’s last title-winning campaign.
Rashford and Martial are promising young stars no doubt, but can be inconsistent to the frustration of United fans at times.
Experience would also be another factor Ibrahimović would bring to the dressing room at Old Trafford. His age could be considered a good thing to many fans and would be perfect inspiration to upcoming youth products Rashford and Borthwick-Jackson as they become regular starters in the team providing Mourinho is prepared to use youth.
In addition, since 2002, he has only ever not won a league title in 2 campaigns. A record even Ronaldo and Messi are to be envious of.
The aura surrounding Zlatan is a benefit to any side that has him. Zlatan would be a superb player to have in the team as he would contribute to bringing the fear factor back to the Theatre of Dreams as well as helping to improve and inspire his own team mates.
Is his age a negative?
However, Zlatan signing for United could have a number of possible drawbacks as well. Probably the only thing a large number people don’t like about Zlatan is his age.
At 34, there are already doubts as to how many effective seasons he has left to provide. It is blatantly obvious that it can’t be many. Cantona retired at 31. It can only be one or maybe two at the absolute most. This could be a sign that Mourinho is only choosing short-term players for his maybe short-term stay.
Another problem is whether Zlatan would be suitable for the Premier League. Yes he’s a fantastic goalscorer, but that never stopped Falcao.
Not only this but considering Zlatan is reaching the end of his career he could cease to become very injury prone as many strikers do in their last seasons at their respective clubs.
If Zlatan was to pick up a slight injury, it could prevent him from featuring for a couple of months and before you know it, it’s time for him to retire. The Swede might also struggle to fit into a United team which likes to keep possession and not counter-attack so much however this might change following the departure of Dutch boss Louis Van Gaal.
Another question to ask would be how well would Zlatan fit Mourinho’s philosophy? Would Zlatan keep youth such as Marcus Rashford out of the side?
Zlatan is infamously known for playing up front on his own, if so where would Martial, Memphis and Fellaini fit in? Finally, Zlatan’s behaviour can also at times be challenging and this would not have a good influence on the rest of the team.
Whatever you think of the PSG striker, there is no doubt he would bring goals to the side, but really how long could he provide to a United side that finally needs to be implemented with some consistency following a frustrating couple of seasons?
He is certainly an exciting prospect for United fans to look forward to, and let’s hope this time next year we are beaming with delight following a very successful season with the Swedish international.