Manchester United have made a huge splash in the summer transfer market, signing one of the biggest players available and making perhaps one of the biggest free-transfer signings in years -- they've inked Swedish international and former Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimović. The player himself confirmed the move on his Instagram on Thursday.
Zlatan is finally coming to England after spending years dominating in Italy and France, with a year in Spain thrown in for good measure. He's long wanted to see how he stands up against the best of the Premier League, and he's finally going to get his chance. While Ibrahimović isn't at his best anymore -- he turns 35 in October -- he still seems to have plenty left in the tank to put in at least one more good season now that he's finally arrived.
Is Zlatan worth the money?
While we don't know his exact wages yet, it was reported that Ibrahimović wanted wages equivalent to what he made post-tax in France. That was a lot of money -- a little bit more than Wayne Rooney makes. Still, considering Zlatan's skill and Manchester United's desperation to have a consistent, high-quality goalscorer, it's hard to argue that the risk isn't one that would be well worthwhile.
What does Zlatan bring to Manchester United?
He brings a presence and quality up top that United have lacked ever since Rooney's slow decline started a couple of years ago. Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay offer a lot of promise, but their end product is still lacking. The certainty of Ibrahimović's quality will be a major salve to the hopes of United as they chase a return to glory with a Champions League berth -- and maybe a Premier League title. Few players have won more titles than Zlatan in the last 15 years, so a team like United that has a great hunger to return to the top of English football would hope he keeps his successful pedigree going at Old Trafford.
How does this impact the squad?
Zlatan is going to create a few changes for United. His presence will likely shrink the roles of Martial and Depay somewhat, with the pair of young attackers likely sharing a spot on the left unless José Mourinho decides to start two strikers and partners Martial with Zlatan up top. Either way, the arrival of Ibrahimović will cement the move of Rooney into a deeper role, playing as some form of more advanced midfielder to play off Zlatan and try to form a creative partnership with the big Swede.
Ibrahimović's presence should do more than just that for Manchester United, though. They've lacked the kind of confidence and swagger he brings ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Even in their better days in the three years since then, they've never really looked like the United of old, nor did they really act like it. Zlatan's confidence can be infectious, and if he can restore that pride and swagger to United, they could get a whole lot better in a hurry.
It's Zlatan. If you're a struggling club and you have the ability to sign Zlatan on a free transfer, you do it. It's a great low-risk, potential high-reward signing for Manchester United.