So, United have won the first competitive trophy of the season thanks to one man…okay that’s a possible exaggeration but one mans goals this season have gained the side 11 points in the league, won the sides most recent FA Cup match, won the first leg of our last 32 of the Europa League and this weekend scored the winning goal in the League Cup final. That man, in case you hadn’t realised, is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Now I know that a team is more than one man and for Zlatan to score the goals he has there has had to be a ‘supporting cast’. As well as winning the points he has scored 24 goals, 15 more than Juan Mata’s 9 goals. The other strikers at the club, Rooney (5), Martial (7) and Rashford (7), have not come close to Zlatan’s on the goal scoring front but this is possibly down to all three players featuring a lot less than the main man. The team around Zlatan appear to be more than happy to play a supporting role which is probably a good thing considering what he has apparently done to his team mates and managers in the past. So far there has been no stories of training ground bust ups, no on field disputes and no demands to leave the club after the throwing of kit boxes at the manager.
Many would argue that Zlatan is arrogant…on second thoughts maybe he is, but that arrogance is what makes him the striker that he is. Most would also say that he is focused on himself, and maybe he is, but for him to perform he knows that the team has to perform around him to provide the chances and when they don’t he can become frustrated. This frustration, is there in all the best players and can be seen at times during a game when their colleagues do not do as they want, because they genuinely think their way is the best for them and therefore the best for the team.
The hope is that he will stay with the club and continue to show the same determination and arrogance if it means that he continues to score goals this season and next…but what if he doesn’t?
Well, I think the past few seasons have shown that Rooney cannot occupy the role of being the clubs go to goalscorer and I wouldn’t be surprised if he moved on to pastures new (or old) over the summer. He has been a good servant for the club and has achieved a lot but if he wants to play regular football then I am sure he is aware that he will have to find a new club. He will probably either follow the money and go to China or he could end up back where it all began for him and turn out again for Everton, possibly occupying the role in behind Lukaku (if he stays).
I’ve also heard some say that Martial and Rashford are a future front two, but I disagree, both are too similar, they both like to adopt similar starting positions out wide and drift in from the left, they both like to run at players from deep and a lot of teams do not play two up top anymore. I think Rashford is the most adept at playing up top whilst Martial would probably play from the left, for this to work though Rashford would need to ensure he occupies a space in between the 18 yard box to give space for Martial to play and to be a target for his team mates…but hopefully for the rest of this season at least they both will have to be happy to rotate and occupy a role on the left whilst Zlatan occupies the role of the clubs main striker.
But what happens if Zlatan goes at the end of the season, who could replace him?
Well, as I’ve already said, I think the only direct replacement at the club who could step up is Rashford, yet he still has a lot to learn and I am not sure if he is ready to carry the expectations of the team on his young shoulders…I could be wrong though. So if Rashford isn’t ready, who could replace Zlatan?
|Golden Shoe 2016-17: Standings|
|Position||Player||Club||Goals x Constant||Points|
|1.||Lionel Messi||Barcelona||20 x2.0||40.0|
|2.||Edinson Cavani||PSG||26 x 1.5||39.0|
|T3.||Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich||19 x 2.0||38.0|
|T3.||Edin Dzeko||Roma||19 x 2.0||38.0|
|T3.||Gonzalo Higuain||Juventus||19 x 2.0||38.0|
|T3.||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Dortmund||19 x 2.0||38.0|
|T7.||Luis Suarez||Barcelona||18 x 2.0||36.0|
|T7.||Bas Dost||Sporting CP||18 x 2.0||36.0|
|T9.||Anthony Modeste||FC Koln||17 x 2.0||34.0|
|T9.||Harry Kane||Tottenham Hotspur||17 x 2.0||34.0|
|T9.||Romelu Lukaku||Everton||17 x 2.0||34.0|
|T9.||Alexis Sanchez||Arsenal||17 x 2.0||34.0|
Good question…above is the current Golden Shoe table and it contains a lot of the usual suspects with regards to league goals scored this season but how many of them would be available?
I think from the list you would always say someone with Premier League experience would be good, yet I can’t see Suarez in a United shirt, and whilst former Blackburn striker Modeste is having a good season at Koln (and had a half decent season last year) I doubt he would get the fans excited. The only slightly realistic picks from the Premier League are Lukaku (possible deal involving Rooney?) or Kane but both will cost a lot of money but do have years on their side as both are only 23. One person who will probably be on the move in the summer is Aubameyang, from Dortmund, yet with him sounding out a move to Real and strong interest from former manager Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, I doubt we would see him at Old Trafford. Edison Cavani is a man in form at the moment and appears to be relishing stepping out from behind Zlatan’s shadow. He has proven he can score goals in Italy and is now doing it in France but the question is could he do it in the Premier League…
Of course some fans would be hoping for a star man to come in, a kin to Zlatan, yet I cannot see it happening, there are probably only two players on the earth who have the strength of character, goal scoring ability, the confidence/arrogance to believe they are the best, the passion for the game and would please the fans…but Messi would probably choose City, with their Barca connections, if was to leave Spain and Ronaldo appears to have a lengthy contract in Madrid.
So for now, all we can do, is continue to enjoy watching Zlatan doing what he does best and hope he continues to do it in a United shirt.