Manchester United should focus their energies on re-signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic rather than chasing Mario Mandzukic after the veteran Swede was given a ringing endorsement by the club’s former captain Paul Ince.
Mandzukic has not played a single minute for Juventus this season under new manager Maurizio Sarri, and with United struggling for goals, there has been a great deal of speculation linking him with a move to Old Trafford in January.
However, Ince, speaking to Paddy Power, has told United to instead focus their energies on bringing Ibrahimovic back to Old Trafford, saying he’d be the Godfather of Old Trafford.
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic seemed to tease going back to Spain, then he’s been linked with staying in the MLS, and even Perth Glory,” Ince said.
“But I think, if he wanted to, returning to Old Trafford would be the way to go.
“He’d be great at educating all of these young players that Ole is looking to bring through, an incredible off-pitch influence as well as on the field. They need someone who can control the changing room and be a true leader, and he fits that role. He can show the young players how it’s done. He would be the Godfather of United’s dressing room.”
Ince continued: “I can’t see Mandzukic happening, so why not take Zlatan?
“You know that he isn’t going to play 90 minutes every game, but he’s a lethal goal scorer ultimately. It’d only be a short contract, and you know what he’s going to do and that’s score you goals. If you were to bring him on for 15 or 20 minutes he will find the net in that time.
“And we know that United have been struggling with creating chances and not scoring goals – he’s the perfect fit.
“He’s a completely different forward to anything that they’ve currently got. I know there’s been talk about Mario Mandzukic, which I could never see personally, but for a small period of time I don’t see why you wouldn’t take Zlatan.
“Anthony Martial is in and out with injuries, Jesse Lingard is inconsistent, and it takes the constant pressure off [Marcus] Rashford.”
Ince also believes the return of talismanic forward Ibrahimovic would also go down well with supporters, the former England captain adding: “It would also be a huge boost for the fans. They would love it, the excitement of having Zlatan back. There’s been a lot of doom and gloom at the club in the last few years, but he wasn’t part of that. You can imagine the buzz amongst fans if they knew he was coming back.
“All the younger players would be buzzing to have him there – knowing you’ve got Zlatan at the club. It seems like a no-brainer to me if Ole wants to go down that route. He won’t get to go to a bigger club than United at this stage in his career, that’s for sure.”