It’s official. Zlatan Ibrahimović has returned to Manchester United on a one-year deal. This re-signing is an answer to the lingering question that has been surrounding United’s camp all summer, of whether he was really going to return to Old Trafford or not. However, with one question answered, another question has risen: with Romelu Lukaku coming in as United’s new number nine, what role will Ibrahimović play in José Mourinho’s new squad? Answering this question should be simple, but has its nuances.
Zlatan Ibrahimović should be used as Manchester United’s newest super-sub. However, this is where some complications arise. As a self-proclaimed “king” and “lion,” it is hard to imagine Ibrahimović being okay with such a role. But with Lukaku seamlessly being integrated into the first XI, it is also hard to see Ibrahimović starting very often. The only opportunity for him to start should really be in less vital scenarios, like cup matches and games against weaker sides during busier game weeks. With this becoming his new role, Ibrahimović will most likely need to learn how to not be the star man up front anymore. This new idea will take some convincing from Mourinho, but the payoff will be huge for both parties. Although Zlatan’s legacy will live on, it is time for new faces to step up for United.
In addition to starting in these types of matches, Ibrahimović can also be used as United’s deadly super-sub. The super-sub role really only requires two things: undeniable game-changing abilities and, ideally, an unbeatable attitude to go with it. Ibrahimović just so happens to encompass these two things perfectly.
First, Ibrahimović has many qualities that make him the perfect game-changer for any team. This is mainly because of his track record of being such a deadly finisher. Unbeatable in the air, great with the ball at his feet, and a knack for scoring goals make him the person to kill games off that Mourinho has been needing. One of United’s biggest struggles last season was their inability to finish out games against lesser sides, especially at Old Trafford. Now, with Ibrahimović coming into games late to bully the opposition, those days of drawing at Old Trafford are over. His physical presence is one that few defenses can ward off easily and will definitely be used to United’s advantage.
Second, Ibrahimović has the attitude and swagger that makes opposing teams shudder at his name. Even with this new role, he will never stop seeing himself as a god-like figure while on the pitch. His unparalleled confidence as a player and experience winning countless trophies allow him to be a leader on and off the field. Having him represent dominance and teach United’s young squad what it is like to be dominant in England and in Europe is an asset that no one can put a price on.
The re-signing of Zlatan Ibrahimović can be season changing for Manchester United. He has all the qualities to turn United into the dominant force that nostalgic Fergie fans still dream about and it is time to welcome him home. It has already been an exciting start for Manchester United, but this addition takes things to a new level.