Barely 4 minutes into his debut in a Red Devils Jersey, Zlatan Ibrahimovic delivered his first goal in a United Jersey. A bicycle-kick volley, acrobatically delivered by the star striker was the best announcement he could have given as regards his new mission in England.
At 34, he has conquered almost every top league (excluding Germany’s and England’s), and as he came to the end of his contract at PSG pondering on what quest to embark on next, a Mourinho-led United finally lured Ibra to the best league in the world.
Clearly past his prime (physical prowess mainly) and nearing retirement, getting him for free was a great deal, and as the club launch a title challenge and hope to reclaim lost glory since Sir Alex Ferguson left, here is how Zlatan can be of great influence on many fronts next season.
GOALS! GOALS! AND MORE GOALS!
This was the primary reason why Jose Mourinho signed him despite his hefty £200,000 weekly wages. And he is worth it as will sure deliver. He averaged a goal per league game last season with PSG, finishing top of the pile with 38 strikes in 31 matches.
In 4 seasons in the Ligue 1, he emerged as highest goalscorer on three occasions, while also winning the prize twice during two stints in the Serie A. Since earning a reputation for scoring with reckless abandon from his Ajax days under Leo Benhakker’s tutelage, Zlatan hasn’t stopped.
He won’t stop now. He won’t be stopped now. Goals win league titles, and the last goal poacher United secured won their last title for them. A greater than Robin Van Persie is here; it’s time for another title. Glory Glory Man United.
HE WILL BE A ROLE MODEL TO MANY
Even a non-outfield player is already getting smitten by Zlatan’s influence with him having quickly settled down and felt at home with the squad. DeGea pointed out the star striker is the hub of the dressing room, and it’s least surprising.
Ander Herra was also quick to admit the other players are glad to have him in their midst as he’s a role model they look up to. Same with last season’s striking revelation, Rashford. In his exact words,
‘We can definitely all learn from him while he is here, so we all need to take that chance. It’s a massive help to be with him every day, and it’s great to see what he is like on and off the pitch. There is a lot to learn from him and hopefully I can bring some of his game into mine.’
Having such figure in the dressing room is really inspiring, and that’s exactly what United need right now after their past struggles.
Bastian Schweinsteiger arrived from Bayern last summer with many believing he will serve as a leader to the club’s crop of youngsters and less experienced players. He hasn’t been able to live up to that expectation.
It’s quite evident that Zlatan doesn’t need the captain’s armband to influence proceedings on the pitch. He’s a leader on and off the pitch.
While at PSG and during his last days with Sweden, Zlatan was a great leader, rousing his side to victory on many occasions, and providing encouragement and inspiration whenever his side was on the losing end. United has lacked a certain competitive edge for a while now, and it’s something their new striker will return.
SHIRT AND TICKETS SALES
Within his first week of getting the number 9 Jersey £76million was realised in shirts sales. The figures will increase throughout next season as shops continue to sell out.
Although only less than 30% of that belongs to United (Adidas produce the Jerseys, not United), it’s still financially rewarding at the end of the day. At least, it’s able to cater for his £10million yearly wages and match bonuses.
His presence in subsequent games will also pull in fans and supporters in their numbers. Tickets are bound to be sold out because of him even at other 19 stadiums. People want to catch the glimpse of this one-in-a-generation player perform his magics.