Graeme Souness: Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play a vital role for Man United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness has hailed Zlatan Ibrahimovic insisting the Swede will have an immense impact at Manchester United.

Ibrahimovic, who arrived at Old Trafford back in January, was the second of four players brought to the club.

The 34-year-old has already cemented his status as a fans’ favourite after scoring an overhead kick just three minutes into his debut, alongside netting the winner to seal the Community Shield against Leicester City.

Souness, usually quick to criticise Man United, claimed Ibrahimovic is a vital capture ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

“I think the two biggest influences next year are the manager and Ibrahimovic,” he said.

“I think you saw Ibrahimovic (in the Community Shield) not have a very good game but being the difference.

“It’s not just what he’s going to give them over 90 minutes, it’s what he is going to give them around the place.

“He has got an aura about him, he has got a confidence that he can back up and has backed up in his career so far.

“At 34, he is not like he was when he was 27 or 28, but I imagine he will stir that dressing room in a very, very positive way next year.

“Roy Keane in that dressing room for the last two years, he would have been stirring it up.

“He wouldn’t have been accepting the players too readily accepting disappointment. He’d have got after them. And I expect Ibra to be that man now.”

Zlatan was brought to the Theatre of Dreams for two reasons: firstly, as a man with 121 goals in the past three years, he is the ideal antidote for United’s stagnancy in front of goal; secondly, and perhaps more importantly, he invokes a warrior like, devoted mentality in the pursuit of victory.

While some may question is age and ability to adapt to the physicality of English football, nobody can ever doubt the Swede’s unique presence on a football pitch. His goal against Leicester was a prime example: despite being largely peripheral all game, there was still something in the atmosphere which suggested that, at any given moment, Zlatan would make his mark – which he duly did.

Further down the line, as United push for trophies, that powerful presence will be crucial for Mourinho’s side.

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