Manchester United fans were in for a treat as Louis Van Gaal was replaced by Jose Mourinho, and that excitement had barely died down, before they announced the possible signing of the high-profile striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
There is no denying the calibre and skill of Ibrahimovic as he has proven numerous times before. A player that thrives on passion combined with accurate offensive skill, is exactly what Manchester United needs to look for in their new striker recruits. As proved earlier, the Red Devils needed to seriously re-evaluate their strikers and add to the army.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a mighty good reputation, and he has the ability to back it up when it comes to his performance. Comparisons are already being made between him and Eric Cantona and the Swede’s presence would inspire more belief among the youngsters. Ibrahimovic’s record suggests that he delivers trophies, but can he still do it?
One good advantage would be that Zlatan and Mourinho share a good relationship. This is essential when it comes to the success of that player at the team. However, such reasons also applied to Didier Drogba. Mourinho turned to the ageing forward in 2014 and the Chelsea legend went on to play his part in the club’s title win that season.
Judging by the situation Manchester United are in, they would need Ibrahimovic to offer more than a few goals and a dressing-room presence. They’d be anticipating a star striker who can lead the attack.
Although Ibra is close to turning 35, he shows no signs of decline. Ibrahimovic has just produced the best goalscoring season of his career, netting 50 times in 51 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain – some 15 goals more than his next best effort. It’s the second best tally of any striker in a major European league. While this was a stand-out season, his record is consistent. Ibrahimovic has passed the 30-goal mark in all competitions in each of his last five seasons and scored more than 20 goals for nine seasons in a row at four different clubs.
Yes, that could also be due to the perceived weakness of the French league and it’s true that Ibrahimovic has twice failed to score against PSG’s closest rivals, Monaco and Lyon, in the past 12 months. But his Champions League return has been impressive enough.
He was the club’s top scorer and chief assist provider in the competition, finding the net in three of his four matches against English opposition – including home and away against Chelsea in their last-16 tie. He has repeatedly proven his quality at a high level. It wouldn’t be such a bad idea to check out the odds for the talented striker to end the season as top scorer on https://matchbook.com/.
That repeatability is what makes him such an attractive proposition in the short term and is a key quality to look for in any new acquisition. The player’s shot volume highlights the point. He has proven his capability to get shots away, regardless of the club or the league in which he’s been playing.
Since his season with Barcelona, there has been no indication of decline, as far as his shot accuracy and consistency is concerned.
With Manchester United’s forgettable lacklustre performance, opportunities might be at a premium for a player whose movement has been increasingly restricted as the years have passed. In his physical prime, Ibrahimovic was the complete forward but he has had to adapt to maintain his minutes on the field.
Ibrahimovic does continue to drop deep into the areas of a No 10 and provided 13 assists in Ligue 1 last season. That would have been the best in the league, had he not finished off eight of team-mate Angel Di Maria’s 18 assists himself.
But he has become more unwilling to drift to the flanks in search of the ball, and he is now reliant on the service of others and, as Robin van Persie discovered, that can be tricky at Old Trafford. And yet, Ibrahimovic is more naturally suited to the target-man role that Mourinho envisions, providing the team’s offensive standpoint.
Of course, the key is to construct a team that can make use of such an expert finisher. However, it does help to have one. The team’s transformation will depend on others. But in Ibrahimovic, Mourinho could virtually eliminate the possibility of failure on the grounds of lacking a top-class finisher.