Why Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be perfect next buy for Manchester United
Louis van Gaal is an ambitious man and has shown that with the signings he has made since taking charge at Manchester United, but I think there is at least one piece of the jigsaw missing.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, who arrived yesterday from Bayern Munich alongside Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin, is a terrific signing who has great experience and is only 30, so he still has legs.
He worked well in a fluid midfield three as Germany won the World Cup last summer, and I can see Van Gaal deploying him in a similar system, with Schneiderlin and Ander Herrera taking up the other roles.
But United still look like they need reinforcement in attack – even taking into account the signing of Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven – and I know exactly who I’d go for.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 33 and wouldn’t be cheap but United sanctioned a hugely expensive deal for Falcao last summer, so I don’t see why they couldn’t do something similar for the Swede.
They still need a superstar, and the Cantona-like Ibrahimovic could be it. PSG team-mate Edinson Cavani has been the one linked to Old Trafford but I’m not sure the French champions would sell.
In any case, I’d sooner have Zlatan. Look at United’s front three or four and it doesn’t currently match their rivals. But Wayne Rooney playing off Ibrahimovic, supported by Depay and Angel Di Maria would be an enormous statement of intent.
Before yesterday, I wouldn’t have seen Ibrahimovic wanting to join, but signings such as Schweinsteiger’s means he could see a move not only as a last chance to play in England but also as a step up from PSG.
Speaking of steps up, Raheem Sterling is making one by leaving Liverpool for Manchester City, but will also be required to make one himself, and it remains to be seen whether he’s up to it.
Make no mistake, £49m is good money for Liverpool, and their supporters would be misguided to shed tears over his departure. This is a pivotal season for Brendan Rodgers, and he needs a solid dressing room, not the distraction of unhappy players.
Sterling has potential but needs to show he can be a mature footballer. Until he does, he’ll remain, for me, a player created by Luis Suarez, who benefited greatly from playing alongside him.
If Sterling does well this year then we’ll all have to take our hats off to him and acknowledge that he has shown a lot of bottle. Because it is going to take it.
Rodgers, meanwhile, has signed reliable quality in James Milner, a very good right-back in Nathaniel Clyne, a talent who may or may not adapt in Roberto Firmino and a decent but nor brilliant striker in Danny Ings.
It’s not a line-up that looks like being consistent, and Liverpool still sorely need to sign a centre-back. With the pressure on, Rodgers may just have an even weaker squad than last year.
Trevor Steven is a former England international who played at two World Cups and two European Championships. He now works as a media commentator.