There’s something incredibly impressive about Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s start to life at Manchester United. Maybe it’s the way that the Swede has slotted into this new-look side so swiftly, so easily. Maybe it’s the four goals that he’s recorded in three official games for United. Maybe it’s the way that he’s done all of this, adjusting to a new league, new culture and has continued to impress despite hitting his 35th birthday when October rolls around. Regardless, signing Ibrahimovic on a free transfer is, at this stage, looking to be one of United’s most astute purchases in some years.
It feels very similar to the summer of 2012, and the capture of Arsenal’s Robin van Persie’s. The Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford, scored a goal on his Old Trafford debut against Fulham and quickly became undroppable in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge. Any Premier League title is a team effort, but Van Persie was a huge part of the reason that United won that 20th title.
Ibrahimovic hasn’t missed a beat since he joined the club, either, and despite having a few more years on the clock than Van Persie, he seems utterly at home at United. He has simply clicked into gear here, and thanks to some superb service on the flanks, the quality of players around him and his own fantastic finishing abilities, the Swede has hit the ground running.
You also feel that this just wouldn’t be happening if Jose Mourinho weren’t in charge. The two know each other well, and the Portuguese has already managed to create a side that functions well enough to create chances for Ibrahimovic without it playing exceptional football. Still, you feel like United are still adjusting to brave new world of confidence, and should only improve as the season progresses.
Could Ibrahimovic finish this season as top scorer in the Premier League? He could well do. He’s most reliant on receiving good service consistently, and with United’s attacking options through the middle of the park and on the wings, the former Paris Saint Germaine striker should never be too far away from a good cross. If the quality of the deliveries that come his way stays consistently high, then Ibrahimovic should grab 20 goals without too much of a problem. He has plenty of colleagues around him to run on the ball, and he’s already proven that his ability to put the ball in the net remains strong. As such, the sky really is the limit for Ibrahimovic this season.