Owen Hargreaves: Ibrahimovic to score 15 goals after January


BT Sport pundit and Ex-Manchester United player Owen Hargreaves believes that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will score at least 15 goals after January.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has just put an end to all rumors linking him with several different clubs by signing a new one-year contract at Manchester United.

The Swede’s future was in doubt ever since he suffered a double knee injury during the game against Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-finals.

Knowing that the club needed a new striker, Jose Mourinho went on to sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton for a reported fee of  £75million.

Although Zlatan Ibrahimovic was expected to return in January 2018, it’s been said that he might be able to return sooner than expected because of his hard work and determination in recovery.

BT Sport pundit and ex-Manchester United player Owen Hargreaves believes that despite the injury and the late return, the 35-year-old Swede will be able to have a massive impact for The Reds.

Owen Hargreaves told BT Sports:He’s a world-class player, he scored loads of goals last season and I think he’s a mentor for players like Lukaku, Martial, and Rashford.”

He then added by saying that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will score 15 goals after January: “He’ll score 15 goals from January.  He will get them goals and be a leader for them as well.”

Personally, I do not think that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be able to score that many goals for Manchester United. Here are some reasons on why I think so:

1) He isn’t Manchester United’s no.1 striker anymore

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After signing for Manchester United from PSG for free, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the main man for the club, scoring a total of 28 goals in his first season. Not too bad for a 35-year-old that was written off even before playing a game for the Red Devils.

However, he has to accept that he is the second choice to newly signed striker Romelu Lukaku who has already hit the ground running for Manchester United.

The main reason why Romelu Lukaku was signed is so that he can score goals for the team, loads of them. And that is exactly what he has been doing in the past three games, having scored three goals in his first three games for Manchester United in the Premier League.

If Lukaku can keep his current form up, it’s going to be pretty hard for Zlatan to get game time, which will make it harder for him to get goals.

2) He doesn’t suit Manchester United’s new style of play

Manchester United have been playing in a slightly different manner as compared to last season, mainly because of the change in the striker. Zlatan has his own set of strengths and weaknesses. A few of his strengths include his physical advantage, heading ability, and his hold up play. These are common traits you would look for in a striker.

However, there are also many weaknesses, one of them being his pace. We all saw the number of times Zlatan struggled to receive through balls last season. Even during a rare occasion when he gets the through balls, the only thing that he constantly does is to cut in and look for the next pass. This forces him to drop deep every time we lose the ball which affects our ability to counter attack.

Manchester United’s new style of play includes using the striker for fast-paced counter attacks. With Lukaku and his pace, Manchester United can be more fluent with our counter attacks.

Another thing to note is Zlatan’s finishing. Now, don’t get me wrong, Zlatan is an excellent natural finisher. But Zlatan has missed too many easy chances that could have helped his team massively if scored.

3) If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

With Lukaku leading the lines, Manchester United has won all three Premier League games with a total of 10 goals. If Manchester United continues this high-goalscoring form, there will be absolutely no reason to drop Lukaku for Zlatan.

Next: Manchester United: Defence becoming a tough nut to crack

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has to accept that he is not the main man for the striker position anymore. However, I’m sure Jose Mourinho will give him game time for cup matches and maybe some time in the Champions League. Although he might not be able to help Manchester United in terms of scoring as many goals as he used to, his presence at the club’s dressing room will always be influential for the younger ones.