Ibrahimovic’s return would affect Lukaku - see reason

Updated Friday 25 August 2017 10:12
Ibrahimovic’s return would affect Lukaku - see reason

Manchester United are a better side without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and are more likely to win the Premier League without him, Sky Sports analyst Paul Merson has said.

Merson also claimed that the Swede’s return to Old Trafford, could make Romelu Lukaku “go into his shell”.

Ibrahimovic, on Thursday, re-signed for United on a one-year deal.

“This man is a legend, I don’t use that word loosely, he’s an absolute legend, he’s won titles in seven different countries, you don’t do that by luck. But as time moves on now, Manchester United are a better team without him in it, and they’ve got a better chance of winning the Premier League without him.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of this lad over the years, I think he’s been phenomenal.

“People said he was great last year, scored 28 goals, but Manchester United never looked like winning the Premier League last year.

“You look at them now, with him out of the team, you’ve got Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford going forward, you’ve got Henrikh Mkhitaryan putting balls through the eye of a needle. They’re playing 100mph, and so far nobody can live with them.

“That wasn’t them last season, they were too slow. Le Tiss and I have played No 10, and you need pace up front [in front of you], and if you haven’t got pace, it’s pointless playing a No 10, because there’s not a lot you can do,” Merson said on The Debate.

Ibrahimovic is still recovering from a serious knee injury, which cut short a brilliant debut season at Old Trafford in April. He is not expected to return until the New Year.

“Lukaku is top man now, you can see it on the pitch. That’s going to change! He’s got a big presence, Ibrahimovic, and he hasn’t gone to United to sit on the bench.

“If Lukaku goes a couple games without scoring, the fans will be cheering Zlatan’s name, and Lukaku could go into his shell, and we saw that last season in big football matches for Everton, he went into his shell.

“I don’t think he’s gone there to fizzle out and finish his career. When you watch them at the moment, United are a completely different side to last season. They break with real pace.

“Last season Zlatan was good, but nobody else was. That doesn’t win you the Premier League, everybody has to be good. I just think he slowed the game down last season,” Merson added.

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