There have been a number of sensational summer transfers in the Premier League but few have made a similar impact as Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United. The tall Swede has adapted to life in the Premier League fairly easily and already he has made a huge impact on the squad. He may be 35-years-old but by securing his services on a free, Jose Mourinho has made one of the best signings of the summer.
Manchester United have been in great form of late and although their position in the Premier League table has barely moved, they have started to catch up and they are now well in the running for a top four finish. Securing a Champions League spot is definitely their priority but they could secure their first piece of silverware in the EFL Cup in a few weeks and they will be one of the favourites to lift the FA Cup too.
It may not have been the start of the season many fans hoped for but United are well and truly on their way under Mourinho now and there’s plenty to get excited about. The defence is starting to take shape and Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly have been impressive all season. David De Gea is the best keeper in the Premier League and the midfield pairing of Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba is starting to grow into one of the strongest in the league. Juan Mata is in great form and the attacking options alongside Ibrahimovic are exciting.
But it will be Ibrahimovic who can drive United to another league title – not this season, but very possibly next. The striker has already netted 23 goals in 35 appearances for United this season, including 15 goals in the Premier League. On average, he has 4.3 shots on target a game and he’s provided five assists since joining in the summer. He is always on hand to create opportunities and though he has limited movement, he is ruthless with the ball at his feet and the goal in his sight.
United have struggled in recent seasons to have a reliable goal-scorer and not since Robin Van Persie in 2014-15 have they had such a recognised centre-forward before Ibrahimovic. Wayne Rooney has long been out of shape and though he still has many exceptional traits, it’s clear his playing style is better suited in midfield, where he has played for the majority of the season.
Marcus Rashford is a terrific prospect for the future but at such a tender age he was never going to become United’s sole striker so quickly and he cannot be expected to drive the team towards the title just yet. Anthony Martial is a similar story, as is Jesse Lingard. However, Ibrahimovic is not fazed by pressure. He is used to being the centre attention and actually thrives off it. Mourinho will make sure he makes Ibrahimovic feel important and there will be no doubt that he will deliver.
A Premier League winning team always needs a top goalscorer. Last season, Jamie Vardy was on hand to send Leicester to league glory and Diego Costa has played his part in the 2016-17 campaign. Tottenham and Manchester City have always been there or thereabouts because of star strikers Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero but United have lacked that presence in recent years. In Ibrahimovic they have found their star man and there’s no denying he will be desperate to add the Premier League to his haul of winners medals.
United already have the tools to challenge, they just need a goal-scorer to deliver the goods and there’s very few who are better suited to that responsibility than Ibrahimovic. The club will need him to stay fit next season as he is the key to unlocking their next league title. His time at the top is running out so Ibrahimovic will want to lift the Premier League sooner rather than later.
Usually, when Zlatan wants something, he will get it!