Arguably the signing of the season and the man who is spearheading Manchester United’s charge for European success and a top four finish – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has certainly lived up to his billing after years of success at PSG, Inter Milan and Barcelona to name a few. The Swede has conquered and proved himself in the Premier League – something he always said he could and would.
The journalists have been waxing lyrical about United’s talisman and likened his presence at Old Trafford to that of Eric Cantona. It is hard to argue and best illustrated with his performance in the EFL Cup Final – where cometh the hour, cometh the man and Zlatan’s two goals saw the Red Devils claim their first piece of silverware of the season. Ibrahimovic has in truth been a force of nature; however, question marks still appear over his long-term future and whether this will be his one and only season in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho came out this week and suggested that the ball is firmly in the player’s court and only Zlatan can decide what he wants to do. The player himself has been non-committal as rumours of a potential move the MLS and China surface on a daily basis. Despite his success on the pitch it is fair to say that supporters have been mixed about the striker’s future plans and whether his presence in the team is in fact a hindrance to the development of the likes of Marcus Rashford and Antony Martial. The whole United team is geared around supplying Zlatan; however, it has been noticeable that since the Swede has been out of the team that Manchester United look more fluent going forward and attack with genuine pace – providing more options and increased fluency. It is a real conundrum for Mourinho – who would potentially have to sacrifice his aging front man in favour of the development of young potential to lead his line.
Both Rashford and Martial have been left frustrated this season in not only having to play second fiddle, but being played in wide areas tasked with being providers from the flanks – oppose to the men finishing off the chances. A lot of the pundits and journalists out there believe that the likes of Rashford will need to leave Old Trafford to hone his fantastic potential, rather than continue to be used sparingly as an understudy.
It really is undesirable situation that faces Mourinho; however, with Zlatan approaching the twilight of his career, and having two young talents chomping at the bit to make their name’s at Old Trafford. Can Mourinho really sacrifice guaranteed goals, for nurturing potential? The reality is that Jose cannot have both, so something will have to give and with Zlatan still unsure about his future perhaps the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ should make his decision for him.