Is Zlatan Ibrahimovic the most impactful striker in Manchester United history?


Zlatan Ibrahimovic could become another record holder at Manchester United if he scores on Saturday at Hull City. Ibrahimovic is one of only eight other players in United history to find the back of the net in their first three competitive matches for the club. If he scores at Hull, he will equal a 91-year-old held by Jimmy Hanson, who scored in his first four competitive matches for United back in 1924. Unlike Ibrahimovic, Hanson was a young striker (only 20 years of age) and had played for Stalybridge Celtic. Hanson was also local and scored on his United debut against Hull, this weekend’s opponents. Hanson did this in 1924 when the game of football was in a completely different state that it is in 2016. If Ibrahimovic can score on Saturday, his feat will certainly be the most impressive of the two record-breakers.

Ibrahimovic’s flying start came as a surprise to some who criticized his age and lack of experience in the English game. He quickly silenced those critics as the Swede dominated the final third in each of his matches he has played in for United. He is clinical in the box, especially in the air as Ibrahimovic scored two headers (one against Leicester City in the Community Shield and one against Southampton in his Old Trafford debut). His impact has been incredible. He is a keen scorer and leader, which United is in need of in the attacking line after having a young strike force last season with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Jesse Lingard. Ibrahimovic’s nose for goal brings the attacking depth United needed, and the 34-year-old has impressed so many people that he claims to have turned his critics into fans.

Now, is Ibrahimovic the quick solution striker United has signed in the modern era? Short answer: yes. With the amount of hype regarding the acquisition of the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, it is simply incredible how easily Ibrahimovic adjusted and found form. In the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, Radamel Falcao was an attempt of Louis van Gaal’s to get a quick solution goalscorer but the Colombian failed to find the net on a regular basis. Robin van Persie was a success under Ferguson in the Scot’s final season at Old Trafford. Ibrahimovic’s perfect start could provide United with a striker bagging 20+ goals a season. Jose Mourinho said that the striker is in line to stay at United for a second season and possibly beyond. Having Mourinho in management must play a role as the Portuguese gaffer is a longtime friend of Ibrahimovic. Does Mourinho bring comfort to Ibrahimovic at a new club? Probably. Mourinho is an influential coach who is capable of drawing some of the best talents in the world to whichever club he is at. United is considered a top club and should draw the greatest players in the world, which it has. The additions of Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly prove just how big United is, even with the lack of UEFA Champions League play this season.

Ibrahimovic is, without a doubt, one of the greatest strikers to ever play. He can score on any stage, at any moment, and in any league in the world. In only three competitive matches for United, Ibrahimovic has drawn global attention to the club, including taking away attention from world-record signing Pogba. Ibrahimovic signed from PSG on a free transfer and he is already proven to being one of the best acquisitions in Old Trafford history.

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