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“I came. I said. I conquered.”
Those parting shot remarks, posted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his social media pages in June, were the most subtle of affirmations that his season long stint at Old Trafford had come to a premature end.
When the 35-year old sustained a gruesome knee injury in the second leg of the Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht, many knew his high flying season had come to an end; few could have imagined that was the last they had seen of Zlatan in United colors.
United opted to release Ibrahimovic in June; choosing not to active the extension clause after the Swede missed the last ten games of the season to injury.
Although the move was to facilitate for the swift acquisition of Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United should offer Zlatan a short term contract to be effected as soon as he returns to full fitness.
Premier League tested
He may have missed a host of chances, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic was directly involved in 37 goals for Manchester United last season; scoring 28 and providing 9.
United were heavily reliant on the Swede, perhaps too reliant, as his figures stood a country mile apart from second placed Henrikh Mkhitaryan who registered 11 goals and 2 assists in all competitions.
His proven status and adaptation to the Premier League will be essential in forging Jose Mourinho’s plan for the season.
He may initially have been ruled out until December, but Zlatan has made tremendous progress over the last three months.
His return to full fitness has been elevated by the fact that he has been undergoing his rehabilitation in Carrington at the invitation of the club. It’s quite evident that Ibrahimovic could regain match fitness sooner than expected, and as such his contribution to the team should never be under looked.
Poised to return midway through the 2017/18 season, the Swede could offer fresh pair of legs as an alternative to the likes of Lukaku and Marcus Rashford, as United compete on all four fronts.
Determined to stay
Manchester United should pounce on the Swedish star who has made known his intention to stay in Manchester; citing unfinished business and dissatisfaction in how his season ended.
Zlatan is an accomplished goal scorer who needs little introduction and for that reason, the hierarchy at United should re-sign him before the close of the summer transfer window- albeit on a short-term contract.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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