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What Next For Zlatan?

What Next For Zlatan?

The big Swede should be just about as fit as he will get by the start of next season. Before then he has a decision to make. One of his options will probably be to stay at Manchester United whilst others, according to his agent, include remaining in the Premier League but with another club. We here at find it difficult to believe that, having spent a season at Old Trafford, he would be happy elsewhere in England but you never know.

The problem if he stays is how the style of play is affected. The pace of players such as Rashford, Martial, Griezmann, (if signed) and even Lingard is, to a certain extent, negated if the centre forward can’t keep up with play. Many a time in this last season the wide players have arrived at the by-line with nobody in the middle to receive a cross.

The simple solution is to get Ibrahimovic to remain in the opponent’s half for the whole game. There are, unfortunately, two problems in adopting this policy. One is that José Mourinho doesn’t like the idea of a player not making an all-round contribution to the team. The second, which is connected to the first, is that his height comes in very useful when defending set pieces. He just can’t join in the counter attacks when the said set pieces have been successfully defended!

So is the best option for United to just say, “thanks Zlatan, but no thanks, we will probably perform better without you next season”. Or should he be kept on? After all, it was his goals which ensured a decent season, scoring in the EFL Cup final and contributing to the success in the Europa League.

It’s an interesting one and, maybe, it will depend on which players arrive in Manchester during this window. If, for example, Alvaro Morata is brought in from Real Madrid, then it will have been with the promise of first team football, the lack of which is his very reason for wanting to leave the Bernabeu. Obviously it is unlikely that Mourinho would play both him and Zlatan in the same team so there would be no need to keep the Swede.

On the other hand, if Mourinho fails to land any of his first choice striker targets then Ibra may very well be a good short term option for next season, or at least until January, when the merry-go-round begins again.

It promises to be an interesting close season at Manchester United, as usual.