Zlatan to be re-United?

Despite it being announced that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been released, Manchester United would do well to re-sign the Swedish legend if he proves his fitness.

Zlatan to be re-United?
Have United seen the back of Zlatan for good? (Photo: VI-Images / Getty Images)

He came. He said. He conquered. That was Zlatan Ibrahimovic signing off to the Premier League on Instagram. Or signing off on Manchester United. Well, signing off on something anyway.

Or was he?

The message suggests that he will be moving on to pastures new. The fact that United have released him suggests it even more. Yet having suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury at the back end of last season, United were never going to renew his contract.

That doesn't mean to say they won't offer him a new one, with new terms, when he has finished his rehabilitation. If there is a chance of that happening, then United should grasp it with both hands. Could it happen? Well, quite frankly yes.

The phenomenon scored 28 goals in a red shirt last year. That puts him in the Robin van Persie, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy bracket. Except he was older, and this was his first season in English football. It was a remarkable feat.

The transfer window mayhem is well under way, and if reports are believed then replacing that goal return with a younger striker is going to cost between £60 and 100million. Of course Ibrahimovic needs replacing, but paying that sort of money will not bring a guarantee of a similar output to what the Swede achieved.

So even if United do splash the cash, why not re-sign Ibrahimovic when he is fit?

Benefits

If United sign Alvaro Morata, then they will be getting a classy operator. Yet coming from Spain and Italy, he will have to adapt. There will be a bedding in period. Romelu Lukaku should need less settling in time, but still there may be teething problems.

If the new boy is struggling leading up to Christmas, then who better to come in and take the heat of him? If someone comes in and is scoring goals for fun, then who could you turn to and trust when you want to give the guy a rest over that busy period? A fully fit Zlatan, that's who.

He proved his doubters wrong in no short measure, and was a massive success and influence. Having seen close up how determined he is, and how much of a winner he is, then his latest injury is not going to prevent him from returning to the level he was at last season.

Doubts

Of course, the main doubt is the injury. Cruciate injuries are possibly the worst a sportsman can suffer, but there are very few players these days that don't recover. His age may have an effect, yet he looked extremely fit, and the injury is not likely to be an issue.

His wages will of course be excessive once more. He probably won't be able to command the same amount as last year, but they will still be huge. Yet whatever he got paid last year was worth it. All of United's players a paid a small fortune, but few made the contribution that Zlatan did.

Possibly the biggest sticking point would be playing time. He has to be the maverick, the focal point, the superstar. If he was prepared to accept that he would not be the top man, and an automatic choice, then it would be a no brainer to take him back.

Marcus Rashford

There is a school of thought that Ibrahimovic being at United will slow the progress of Marcus Rashford. It is difficult to know how that is possible.

Rashford had a fantastic season last year. It wasn't as explosive as when he burst onto the scene the previous season, and he did have to be patient and wait for opportunities. Yet if he had a little wobble, it was most likely as he was learning how do play defensively in a wide position.

Case in point, right? No Ibrahimovic and Rashford plays through the middle. If Rashford was given the responsibility of playing a season as the main centre forward, then it could have been far more detrimental to his career.

Rashford in action in the Europa League final (Photo: Estuo Hara / Getty Images)
Rashford in action in the Europa League final (Photo: Estuo Hara / Getty Images)

Most 19 year olds would dream of playing with Zlatan, and for Rashford it is reality. He had a tough period, but he came through it last season and would have learnt a huge amount. When he got his chance, he showed a maturity and was inspirational in the final rounds of the Europa League.

If Ibrahimovic was blocking his path, then what will Morata or Lukaku do? They haven't hit 26 yet, never mind 36. Ibrahimovic had his detractors, despite his brilliant season, but anyone that criticised him for missing chances are looking for perfection.

United are the best option

For all the chances he missed, there would have been goals he scored, that only he could have scored. Rest assured, Morata and Lukaku will miss chances also. They all do. Zlatan did some incredible things and he contributed to what turned out to be a great season for United.

He doesn't have much more to prove, if anything at all. He doesn't need money, so it is hard to see where he could go next. LA Galaxy? He could "conquer" America, but that is hardly something to crow about. He would no doubt cause a slight stir, but anything he achieved wouldn't be groundbreaking.

China? That really is beneath him. The mercenaries that have gone there in their prime are not on the level of a Zlatan, and it would be hugely sad to see him depart for there. 

All the major leagues in Europe have been graced apart from Germany. There is only one team there and the have Robert Lewandowski. Nothing for him there either.

He has spent time at some of the biggest top clubs and he has found himself at possibly the biggest. If United have the chance to see more of Ibrahimovic, then they should take it. If Ibrahimovic has the chance to stay at United, even in a reduced capacity, he should take it.

If nothing else, it gives United fans the chance to continue belting out the coolest terrace chant for years!

 

 


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