Manchester United have announced the re-signing of Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 35-year-old scored 28 goals in 46 appearances last season, helping the club to two trophies. However, his campaign was ended early due to a serious knee injury, which was a major factor in the decision to release him in June.
There was always a chance that United would choose to re-sign him if his recovery was going well and he is expected to be fully fit again in December. They have started the season in good form, but there is still a role for Ibrahimovic to play. It is difficult to maintain a title challenge; therefore, it will be a huge boost to add a world class striker to their ranks at the end of the calendar year. His return will increase competition for places and give the whole club a boost.
The following quote from Jose Mourinho was reported by BBC Sport after the news was announced:
“After his contribution last season he deserves our trust and we will be patient waiting for him to return,”
The United boss is right to point towards the striker’s contribution last season, as he was their main goal threat and helped win the club a lot of points. That said, it wasn’t all positive and some will suggest that the 25-year-old held the team back. This summer, they have signed Romelu Lukaku and they look a more dangerous team. The Belgian is a better fit for the current system, which begs the question, where will Ibrahimovic fit in?
They will need to manage him carefully, to begin with, which will mean substitute appearances and starts against lesser teams, but there will reach a point where the Swedish striker will expect to start. In certain matches, they could start him alongside Lukaku, but that is unlikely to be the answer in the big games. He might have to accept sitting on the bench and rotating with United’s number nine rather than be a permanent fixture.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the news:
— Zlatan Ibrahimovi? (@Ibra_official) August 24, 2017
DEAL DONE: Zlatan Ibrahimovi? has signed a new 1-year deal and will wear the no.10 shirt at Manchester United. pic.twitter.com/cdlzW2mXPb
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) August 24, 2017
Fascinated to see how Mourinho handles two strikers with big egos in Lukaku and Ibrahimovic. #mufc shouldn't struggle for goals this season.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) August 24, 2017
Manchester United fans were delighted to have him back:
Delighted to once again see Zlatan Ibrahimovi? in a Manchester United shirt. Was wasteful at times, but immense player to have around.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) August 24, 2017
Romelu Lukaku replaced Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Upgrade.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic replaced Wayne Rooney. Upgrade.
Top business from United. #MUFC
— Jonny Bentley (@SportsJonny) August 24, 2017
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is gonna give us an unbelievable push in 2nd part of the season. He'll be eager & raring to go again too. #mufc
— M. Sarosh Ebrahim (@msarosh) August 24, 2017
Rival fans are scared of United’s attacking options:
Can't lie, the striking options that United have compared to us is quite scary..
— ChelseaFCFanGroup (@cfcest1905) August 24, 2017
Man Utd bringing back Zlatan is scary!. My club can't even tie down any of the big stars in the team to a new contract.
— ? ? ? ? ? (@ThaBigSize) August 24, 2017
Not all were convinced it was a good deal for the club:
In case this season hasn't shown it enough, without him they are SO much more fluid and full of pace. Ibra's static play cost them
— George Stokes (@georgestokes13) August 24, 2017
See Manchester United have re-signed a player that made them worse last season even though they fixed the problem with Lukaku. Good to see.
— Benjamin Wills (@_BenWills) August 24, 2017