The Swedish striker has hinted he will leave the LA Galaxy in January and an ex-Red Devil would like to see him return to Manchester
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should try to lure Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to Old Trafford when the transfer window reopens, says Paul Ince.
The 38-year-old striker’s current contract at the LA Galaxy is due to expire at the end of the year, at which point he will be able to negotiate a free transfer back to Europe.
Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in 29 matches for the MLS club this season, with his final effort coming in a 5-3 Western Conference semi-final defeat at the hands of local rivals Los Angeles FC last week.
The veteran forward has already hinted he could return to Spain in January and previously admitted that he would be open to joining Serie A giants Napoli, but his next destination has not yet been decided.
A possible return to Old Trafford has also been mooted for Ibrahimovic, who endeared himself to United supporters during a two-year spell at the club under Jose Mourinho.
Ince, who played for the Red Devils between 1989 and 1995, would be delighted to see the Swedish star ignore all other offers and sign a short-term contract at the Theatre of Dreams.
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic seemed to tease going back to Spain, then he’s been linked with staying in the MLS, and even Perth Glory,” Ince told Paddy Power.
“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.”
The ex-United midfielder went on to express his belief that Ibrahimovic would be the “perfect fit” for Solskjaer’s goal-shy outfit at the moment, while dismissing talk of a potential swoop for Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic.
“You know that he isn’t going to play 90 minutes every game, but he’s a lethal goal scorer ultimately,” Ince added. “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.”
United have endured a frustrating transitional period since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013, and a poor start to the 2019-20 campaign has seen the team sit seventh in the Premier League table.
Ince feels Ibrahimovic’s return to Manchester would be a welcome “boost” for supporters and suggests the former Sweden international won’t get a better offer at this stage of his career.
“It would also be a huge boost for the fans. They would love it, the excitement of having Zlatan back,” he said. “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.”