3 January 2019
Last season Man United fans savored the arrival of Mourinho after a dreary season of boring football with Van Gaal where some fans could take pillows to Old Trafford in case they fall asleep in course of matches. Mourinho buttered the already drying bread of Man United fans when he sneaked Ibrahimovic from PSG to Old Trafford. It was popularly called the coup of last summer and it paid off big time.
I UNITED it @ManUtd pic.twitter.com/2rgvuvoT0m
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) August 24, 2017
Ibrahimovic was a resounding success with Manchester United upon his debut season. While critics doubted his suitability to the fast and furious English Premier League, he put a big shutting thumb to their lips with a mammoth return of 28 goals in all competitions. It was looking like a dazzling return of investment for Mourinho and Woodward. The towering statue of Ibrahimovic was a ready undespairingly accommodating tower for Man United to run to for goals last season. The sublime goals against Southampton in the finals were sound reminders that even if age was not on Ibrahimovic’s side, goals were on his side! The party looked unending but was hit with a sad ending. Man United fans fought back the tears when Ibrahimovic clutched his ankle against Anderlecht in the Europa league. The reality exceeded their worst fears and injury banished Ibrahimovic out of the season till the beginning of 2018.
The season managed to end up differently for Man United other than the disastrous ending that plagued Ibrahimovic. A Europa League triumph was a delicious icing on the cake for Manchester United. A cake which the larger portion was baked by Ibrahimovic.
Let us run down back from memory lane into the present reality. Sensing the encompassing Zlatan void in his attack, Mourinho and WoodWard took some money bags into the transfer market shopping in Goodison Park (Everton’s stadium), they came back with Lukaku. So far it doesn’t look like a bad trade. Lukaku has already started vomiting the goals, just the perfect sickness desired of a world class striker! Rashford and Martial in deputy roles seem capable carrying the cart for Lukaku’s throne and the bulky Belgian has been a bulky addition positively. It seems Ibrahimovic’s Manchester story had come to an end but the Zlatan we know all these years barely drops the towel. It is popular adage to let sleeping dogs lie but Ibrahimovic is not one that would let them lie quietly. He would smack and chase them till they start barking again like North Korea’s nuclear threats. And sure, Zlatan is back! According to him, he has come back to finish what he started. Premier league defenders knew what he started with them last season, right?
I come to finish what I started @ManUtd pic.twitter.com/RjkPAbt7zA
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) August 25, 2017
Not the best of news though but good news itself. However, this glorious inspiring Zlatan renaissance is questionable. Is Zlatan coming back to become the top dog in Man United’s attack? So far Lukaku is not doing any worse and he is much younger compared to Ibrahimovic who would soon be eating his 35th birthday cake. Rashford and Martial seem to be doing better with more a promising crack of consistency. Throwing Ibrahimovic back into the team would cause a congestion of the attack and stall the growth of these youngsters. We all know Ibrahimovic is more suited to sitting on thrones than on the substitute bench. Ibrahimovic has a famous ego taller than Peter Crouch and there is a potency of usurping in the coherence of the dressing room when the defiant Mourinho drops him. So here is the question: Is Ibrahimovic’s Manchester United return the best decision for both parties?