With Romelu Lukaku close to signing on the dotted line to become a Manchester United, it may come as a surprise that the Mirror claim that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could make a shock return to Old Trafford by being handed a new contract at the club once he returns to full fitness after overcoming his serious knee injury.
The Swede, who would then be 36 years of age, would likely demand huge wages and would surely not be first choice with Romelu Lukaku signing, so would his return really be necessary?
For United, if they can agree on a reasonable deal, it may make sense. The return to Champions League football – something that Lukaku has not had to deal with in his career – will mean that the Belgian will be rotated to maintain his fitness. Whilst Marcus Rashford has all the signs to be a top quality striker, he is not a like for like replacement.
Zlatan would also be a valuable addition given his off the field presence. Rashford himself has spoken out at times to reveal just how helpful the former Inter Milan forward was at aiding him to improve his game, with his presence on the training ground and in the dressing room just as vital as his impressive goal tally on it in 2016/17.[interaction id=”59621c97f2d4938713c39e0d”]
With a close relationship with Jose Mourinho, it would also give the boss a close ally in the squad. The Portuguese head coach knows what to expect from the striker and that he can count on him, and he would likely fight his corner if there was any kind of unrest, as has led to the manager’s downfall at both Real Madrid and Chelsea.
However, Ibrahimovic would not come cheap. Given his age and cost, it is exactly the kind of signing that Mourinho has long been criticised for when young players are struggling to break into his team.
With Lukaku and Rashford already two excellent striker with proven records in the Premier League, it is hard to imagine that Ibrahimovic would be content playing third choice at Old Trafford. He is bound to have lucrative offers from Major League Soccer, China and the Middle East, so he may prefer to cash in on the final years of his career rather than suffer a disappointing end to an illustrious career.
With rehabilitation currently his priority, is hard for anyone to know if the striker will be the same player he was before his injury upon his return. Whilst his return to the fold for the Red Devils would be a luxury, it is hard to see how it would be a necessary expense.
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