In this world, you rarely get anything for free, but Manchester United have been gifted a treat on the house in Zlatan Ibrahimović.
The former Barcelona and PSG star may be proving to be one of England’s best free signings so far, but he isn’t the player of the season.
Arrogance is something in football many hate but many players don’t have the quality to back it up. Ibrahimović is certainly the player that falls into that bracket, even at 35.
It was the Reds number nine who came to the rescue to secure the reds fifth League Cup by bagging two goals to win 3-2 in the dying minutes against Southampton. They were the Swede’s 25th and 26th of the season.
The big man makes predictions about himself, gloats about his past titles, his ability, you could say he’s a bit of a big head really? But since 1999, he hasn’t just talked the talk – he’s walked the walk, and in that case, he gets away with it.
You could suggest that where would United be without Zlatan? – well, they’re still Sixth in the Premier League, so just imagine, but he’s not worthy of the Player of the Season award.
Because he’s been so key, because of his aura, his self-belief and given his age, is why he’s been talked about for the award, but he is in fact two goals short of the top scorer charts in England’s top division.
Without his goals, United’s season would have been a lot worse – perhaps sitting in 10th place. He’s their only player who has scored over ten goals, he also went through a patch without finding the net earlier this term.
Why isn’t the talk about Jermaine Defoe of Sunderland? Or Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal? Why are they not been talked about in the same breath? Because both clubs are reliant on their stars.
Defoe’s scored over half of the Black Cats goals this campaign and is one behind Zlatan. Yes they sit bottom of the league and yes the Reds may have used Zlatan to win the EFL Cup but United aren’t top either?
The Gunners are above United in the table due to the Chileans contributions towards a top four place as the joint top scorer with 17 goals and eight assists to his name compared to Zlatan’s four set ups.
From the recent past, Sergio Aguero, arguably one of the best strikers we’ve seen in the Premier League era, hasn’t been named Player of the Season once, or featured in the team of the year in England.
The Argentinian has had one golden boot and has scored 20 plus goals in five of the last six seasons. This campaign, he’s shown glimpses with just the 11 top flight goals. Missing seven League games but has 22 in all competitions. So what is it that makes Ibrahimović so special?
Is it because he’s free? – we do like the bargain don’t we? N’Golo Kante seems to be the other bargain at £30million.
The heartbeat to Leicester City’s once in a lifetime title win and is currently the nucleus in Antonio Conte’s Chelsea sitting ten points clear at the top.
It’s no coincidence it’s partly down to Kante’s contribution, along with another contender Diego Costa, who has 16 goals in the league. That’s what a player of the year elect is supposed to be doing. Pushing your team to the summit.
Yes that final will be remembered as the Zlatan final (or the linesman final) but for the Swede going strong at 35, his importance hasn’t put United at the top. There are many others that surpass the veteran this season.