Saturday 23 September 2017 / 07:16 PM

WE WERE WRONG ABOUT ZLATAN

As a football writer, you’re always taking a risk with the opinions you put out there. Because unless you’re happy to be banal and ordinary, you’ve got no choice but to express your views in your writing.

That’s what I did this summer.

I wrote more than one piece questioning Jose Mourinho’s capture of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Why?

I was pretty sure that Zlatan would struggle in the Premier League. After all, the forward is nearly 35 and he’d never played in England before this season – not exactly the best recipe for success.

I detailed the other legendary players who had made the shift to the Premier League late in their careers and struggled to make a big impact, and was confident Ibrahimovic would add his name to that list.

I was wrong.

And you might be thinking that it’s too early in the season to say that for sure, that it’s too early for my error to be confirmed.

But it’s not.

Zlatan’s two goals on Friday at Southampton ensured that he has three Premier League goals in his first two games, plus another that he grabbed in the Community Shield.

He’s doing exactly what Mourinho bought him to do: score goals.

In fact, now that I am seeing the way United are set out under Mourinho, it’s more and more obvious that I should have realised that Ibrahimovic was the perfect missing part of the United jigsaw.

Mourinho has always favoured a big, strong centre forward who can get goals, and the Portuguese is also notoriously biased towards the more mature players, rather than the youngsters. His ability to get the best out players over the age of 30 is unparalleled in world football, and as such, Zlatan’s form so far should not be a surprise to any of us.

 

Perhaps the biggest reason why I should have thought twice before decrying the Zlatan signing is that he had a phenomenal year last season in France.

And okay, it was France – not exactly the most competitive league in the world – but still, the guy scored 38 goals in 31 appearances. If that doesn’t scream “talent” and “still got it”, I don’t know what does.

So, Zlatan, I must apologise. You really have still got “it”, and in addition to “it” you’ll likely have a Premier League medal in May. Fair play to you.

[YouTube – CorrupTIVE]

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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