Zlatan Ibrahimovic has responded to Eric Cantona’s jibe that he could be a prince at Manchester United in predictable, admirable and implausible fashion:
“…I won’t be King of Manchester. I will be God of Manchester.”
Words that will stir the heart of Red Devils supporters up and down Surrey as they adapt to the new world order under Jose Mourinho, but the Swedish icon has the odds firmly stacked against him.
The only gods United fans currently recognise are the knights Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson, and marquee signings don’t always work out at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, never mind become celestial beings.
Leaving aside Anthony Martial, a hardly-marquee 19-year-old when signed last September, United have been hit and miss at best buying big names for a decade, with the glory days of Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney in consecutive summers long gone.
Since Rooney’s capture in 2004, United’s only unquestionably successful big-money signings (over £15m) have been Michael Carrick, David de Gea and Robin van Persie.
The likes of Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, to an extent Dimitar Berbatov and Anderson (he was much hyped at the time!) have gone to the north west with high expectations and failed to light the place up as expected.
Zlatan would no doubt argue he is the man to traverse such choppy waters as a free transfer, unencumbered by a hefty fee, slipping under the radar during the twilight of his career with former mentor Jose Mourinho pulling the strings.
If he becomes half as popular at Old Trafford as Henrik Larsson, the last 34-year-old Swede to grace the United forward line, bagging three goals and many fans during a two-and-a-half month stay in 2007, he’ll be doing well.
With 50 goals in 51 games for Paris Saint-Germain last term, only a fool would claim Zlatan as a poor signing, despite his monstrous wages (believed to be around £200,000-a-week), so maybe he can be a prince, but God?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is bwin’s 9/1 third favourite to be Premier League top goalscorer at the end of his first season at Man Utd.