Former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre believes that Jose Mourinho should hand Zlatan Ibrahimovic a two-year contract over the summer.
The big Swede has silenced any form of doubt surrounding his age this season, with his most recent strike – during a 3-0 win over Sunderland – taking his tally for this season up to 28 goals in all competitions.
Zlatan, speaking after the game, insisted that, much like Benjamin Button, he was born old and will die young, noting that he was improving with age.
And Silvestre believes that Mourinho would miss a trick by not handing the 35-year-old a new deal over the summer.
“In the club’s position I’d give him two years,” he said.
“For what he’s giving this season, the team is relying too much on Zlatan at the moment in terms of goals, and what he’s capable of giving to the squad, in helping with the maturity of the young players, like Rashford, Martial and the others coming through the ranks.
“Even if in the second half of that contract he doesn’t play as much, he’s a good character to have in the dressing room.”
The idea of giving a striker a deal that would stretch his career into the murky, largely unknown footballing age of 37 is more or less unheard of in the Premier League. But Zlatan, as I have said before, is notably different.
Zlatan has noted on several occasions that, contrary to the laws of football physics, his ability and sharpness improves over time. The cynic inside of me has always struggled to believe this: isn’t it a matter of biological fact that, at the age of 37, you’re going to struggle when it comes to competing with, say, 26-year-olds?
But the Swede continues to prove me wrong, producing performances of the highest standard on a regular basis. Who’s to say he can’t keep doing it for another two years?