United have announce that they have signed Swedish International striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The official announcement comes after the player himself revealed he would be joining the club on his own Instagram account on yesterday, 30th July. Ibrahimovic is then re-united with Mourinho, with whom he has previously worked for one season at Internazionale in 2008-09 when they won Lo Scudetto together.
Whilst now 34 years of age Ibrahimovic has undoubtedly been one of the superstars of world football over the last ten years. Moving from club to club he has managed to win nine league titles in the last ten years with four different clubs. He started his career in his native Sweden with his home town club Malmo before moving to Ajax in 2001. Since then his list of club reads like a who’s who of Europe’s great clubs. After three full seasons at Ajax he has played for Juventus, Internazionale, Barcelona, Milan and Paris Saint Germain.
For the last four season Ibrahimovic has played for Paris Saint Germain where he has scored 156 goals in 180 appearances. He scored 50 goals in 51 appearances last season as PSG won the French league for the fourth consecutive season and the domestic treble for the second consecutive year. Ibrahimovic has recently retired from international football and the captaincy of Sweden having played for his country well over 100 times.
The question for United fans is whether at 34 years of age he remains a significant talent who can make an impact for the club. We would hazard a guess that he is and can, given his recent form in France and his playing style which would seem suited to the overly physical Premier League.
Ibrahimovic is 6 foot 5 inches tall so is naturally good in the air, he is also strong and athletic with unusually strong technical skills for one so tall. He has great vision, passes well and near perfect close control. Equally good with his back to goal or playing deeper as a number ten he not only scores lots of goals but also contributes plenty of assists. He has been criticised in some quarters for his work rate but sublime moments of artistry and decisive moments in big games more than make up for that. He is also known as a hard man, something United have lacked in recent years. He is capable of playing anywhere along the front line. All this means that for many he has been the most complete striker of his generation over the last ten years.
Given his age Ibrahimovic is unlikely to have a long career at United but he has talismanic charisma and would seem the ideal player for United’s promising young players to look up to and learn from.
One other issue may well endear him to United fans over the next year. Ibrahimovic played under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and very famously fell out with him. In fact he allegedly threatened to beat Guardiola up if he was not allowed to leave for Milan. It was reported that Guardiola did not speak to Ibrahimovic from February through to the end of the season in his last year in Spain. If he can similarly get under Pep’s skin whilst a United player few United fans will complain.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, welcome to Old Trafford.