Manchester United were given a huge boost earlier this month after it was revealed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who tore his ACL late last season, was going to be back in action before the end of the month. The Swedish international was back to training in the middle of November and was back in the squad for the last four games for the club.
He has made an appearance off the bench in each of those four games, including one in the Champions League. He has not been able to pick up a goal or an assist but has 0.3 key passes per game already this season. He has a passing accuracy of 82%, which will get better later in the season and it should not be a surprise if he wins games for his side in the second half of the season.
The 36-year old was expected to quit top flight football in Europe after the injury last season, but his recovery was better than expected and he decided to sign a contract extension at Old Trafford till 2018. Having won the La Liga, Serie A and the Ligue 1 titles, it is clear that Zlatan wants the Premier League title on his CV, but at the moment, Manchester United are trailing Manchester City in the race to the title.
So it is easy to understand why Zlatan wants to extend his stay at Old Trafford. Though it was earlier reported that the Swede will look to move to the MLS at the end of the season, reports from the Sun now claim that he is ready to extend his stay in England by yet another year.
Even at 36, Zlatan is a fit athlete, as he is showing every week under Jose Mourinho. He may not be as quick anymore but his experience and understanding of the game along with his skill and ability to find the back of the net, make him one of the most important players for the Red Devils this season.
Romelu Lukaku has had to play on the right flank when Ibrahimovic was subbed on in most of those games and it is clear that he is still the senior attacker at the club.
He may not be able to start games regularly but if he is given a run of starts late this season, he can improve his confidence and form and turn into a star for the club next season.
At his age, he may not have too many chances to win silverware in Europe and Manchester United seems to be his final shot at it. So extending his stay makes sense for the player. And with him the only back up for United in the striker’s role, it will be a more than welcome news for the club, who will love to keep him at Old Trafford till 2019.
But can he retain his flair?