Man United should let Zlatan go

Wilbrold Oyesigyemukama Roar Rookie

By Wilbrold Oyesigyemukama, Wilbrold Oyesigyemukama is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    No striker at Manchester United has scored 30 goals in a single season since Robin Van Persie in 2013.

    But Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks likely to finally pass that mark this season, and he’ll deserve all the credit he gets.

    The never-ageing Swede has scored 28 goals so far, and most of them have been crucial goals, like the two goals against Southampton in the Football League Cup final. He might be 35, but he’s making his younger teammates look ancient.

    Even so, his conversion rate is low. His movement slows down most United attacks. Even his mere presence limits chances that would have been available to young talent – for example, whenever he plays, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, two of Europe’s most exciting talents, are restricted to the wings or the bench.

    The ‘Lion’, as he might prefer to call himself, is turning 36 soon, and I cannot bet against him being fit enough to play for five more years – but I can bet against him being as productive as he is at the moment.

    Football is changing with the plentiful young talent flowing into England year in and year out – we now have defenders who are as fast as strikers – and that will count against him.

    I remember a good number of players being too productive at the later stages of their carriers, but this productivity has always been followed by complete breakdown. For example, John Terry was exceptional in the Chelsea title-winning team of 2015, but age caught up with him one season later. Rio Ferdinand in 2013 is another example, as are Per Mertesacker, Diego Forlan, Ronaldo – they all slowed a year after their most productive seasons.

    You sign finished products, not prospects, when chasing a specific target, like Sir Alex Ferguson did in his capture of Robin Van Persie at the start of 2012-13 season, which is what it looks like Jose Mourinho did in bringing the Swede to Old Trafford – he needed a born winner who would reinstate lost morale and courage to the dressing room. Zlatan has done this.

    But you can’t build a team around a 35-year-old, and we all know what comes with old age in football.

    Teams are built around young stars approaching their prime who still find the game more than exciting and are ready to give their all for their team.

    If Mourinho wants to win trophies next season, he should look to Martial and Rashford or even new signings – Romelu Lukaku, Antoine Griezmann or Alvaro Morata could be the future of Manchester United.

    If Zlatan is to stay, let it be him who chooses to do so – let’s not have the club begging him to hang around.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • April 21st 2017 @ 7:14am
      RBBAnonymous said | April 21st 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      Clueless. You must have been one of the many people who thought Zlatan wouldn’t succeed in the EPL. The guy is a beast and still one of the best strikers in the world. Best to hang onto him until he isn’t or until you find a better replacement.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 21st 2017 @ 9:07am
      At work said | April 21st 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      If Zlatan wants to continue to win trophies he needs to come down and join Sydney FC 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Seriously though, I don’t think he’d even mind being moved on, as long as publicly they allow him to move on his terms and not push him out the door.
      Wonder if Zlatan would like the bright lights of NYC or LA, or if he’d prefer a culture change and move to China

    • April 21st 2017 @ 8:25pm
      Wilbrold Oyesigyemukama said | April 21st 2017 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

      Your comment
      #RBBAnonymus, I was 100% in for Zlatan being a success and have never doubted his quality. But look, he is here to inspire the future of Man Utd but he won’t be physically part of it. The club has got to look around young blood. Last night and some last few games was proof of what to expect in the coming years.

    • April 22nd 2017 @ 10:14am
      eds said | April 22nd 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

      Zlatan should have taken on the Chinese offer last year instead of joining his old time friend Mourinho. That decision cost him probably about 50 million dollars.

    • April 24th 2017 @ 1:03pm
      Albo said | April 24th 2017 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

      Well thanks for jinxing him Wilbrold !
      Seems there might not be any decision for ManU to make now , at least for a year or so ! The injury he suffered on Thursday might just have ended his career. ManU have only had a short period of time at the end of his career to benefit from this star striker. He must have been some player 5 years ago when in his prime. In saying all that, I tend to agree with the premise of your article. We have seen high priced strikers come & go from ManU in recent years, and many haven’t raised a whimper. But right now they do have a couple of young strikers of real potential in Martial & Rashford being forced onto the wing or the bench for much of the season, and missing out on a season to develop as strikers, thanks to Zlatan playing constantly till this injury. I note that Rashford scored the winner in extra time after Zlatan left the field injured against Anderlecht on Tuesday & Martial & Rooney finally got to play today and both scored in their 2-0 win at Burnley. Time to build a strike force around these young strikers.

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