Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho did something that amazed everyone this summer, bringing in four quality signings all before the start of the season, which was the main surprise. Three of his four signings were done before the squad embarked on their pre-season tour of China, which was great to see. Eric Bailly is one of the best signings Mourinho has made this season after putting in some great performances with defensive partner Daley Blind, who was a surprise defensive player last season, for most anyway. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho;s second signing of the summer is a player that has raised the spirits of United supporters, not to mention his teammates, after three season’s of poor football, watching other teams; Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester City, lift the title.
Ibrahimovic, a free agent after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain ran down in the summer, will be the feel-good signing of the season. Straight away the Swede proved a point after making his debut in a friendly against Galatasaray in his native Sweden, finding the back of the net with a spectacular goal in the first four minutes of the match, with United eventually winning 5-2, after falling 2-1 behind by the end of the first half. Ibrahimovic also started the season proper with a bang, scoring the winning goal, with a header in the FA Community Shield as United beat current Premier League holders Leicester City at Wembley. The Swede went on to score in his Premier League debut away to Bournemouth in a 3-1 victory, before making his competitive Old Trafford debut, scoring twice (once from the spot) in a 2-0 victory over Southampton, who had won their last two matches at Old Trafford.
Ibrahimovic has scored four goals in his first three matches as a Manchester United player, and could have matched a 91-year-old record should he have scored against Hull City, not for the want of trying. It was Marcus Rashford that struck that day, deep in added time with a typical ‘Fergie Time’ winner which kept United undefeated and more importantly on a 100% start to the season. This weekend, United face Manchester City at Old Trafford, their first big test of the season and they will go into that match as the side many will be behind, putting City back in the shadows, at least for now. Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole has spoken about his excitement to see a player with the qualities of the Swede leading the line at United, also mentioning the phenomenal heights he has reached in his career, winning a league title in every country he has played in. Cole, speaking exclusively to 888Sport, said:
“I’ve been excited from top to bottom and I’m one of his biggest fans. What he has achieved in his career is phenomenal and he’s started very, very well. Even though I’m not judging him on a few games it looks like he’s had a massive impact so far. He is a big personality which in England can be a problem but it’s crazy because everyone is lapping up what he’s saying.
“If you can’t learn off someone like Zlatan, then you can’t learn off anybody. He has won the title in every country he’s played in and if he does the same in England that would be phenomenal. He has been a super player throughout his career.”
The added extra for Ibrahimovic and United is that he will be able to pass his experience and skills onto other players at United, namely Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Imagine both of those players, as good as they are now, learning from one of te best strikers in the midern game. Ibrahimovic scored 50 goals in 51 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain last season, already scoring four goals in four games this season, which has already solved the goals problem United have faced over the last few seasons, the last one saw United score only 49 goals in the Premier League, seldom tearing teams apart like the United of old used to do. United have already scored a total of six league goals this season, conceding just one, which is a great start to the new era under Jose Mourinho. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a winner, he gives the right mentality to his teammates to help them become winners too, which turns the team into a winner as a whole. This season is going to be an exciting one, which has seen everything chance in the league thus far.
Read the full 888sport interview with Andy Cole, including his thoughts on how Marcus Rashford can become an Old Trafford legend.