Graeme Souness picks his Player of the Year - and explains why his choice should worry Man United fans
Liverpool legend Graeme Souness believes Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be named as PFA Player of the Year - but he suggests that accolade would highlight the lack of leaders in Jose Mourinho’s dressing room.
Ibrahimovic’s 27 goals in his maiden season at United have propelled Mourinho’s side to an EFL Cup final win at Wembley and sustained their hopes of a top four finish in the Premier League.
Yet there remains serious doubts over his future at the club, as he continues to stall on signing an extension to the one-year contract he committed to last summer.
Speaking to Independent.ie, Souness suggested the Swedish striker and his veteran team-mate Michael Carrick have exposed weaknesses in the United squad that have yet to be addressed by Mourinho.
“I have just voted for Ibrahimovic as my Player of the Year because he has been that good,” Souness told Independent.ie.
“However, with my Liverpool hat on, how concerning must it be to United that their best player by a considerable distance is a 35-year-old who might not be there next year.
“You could argue that their second best player is Michael Carrick and he is also 35 and might not be there next season.
“They have a long way to go and I can see them missing out on the top four now. They have just had too many draws at home and don’t seem to have that killer instinct to finish teams off.
“It will be a blow if Man United do not get into the top four, but I can see them winning the Europa League and getting in to the Champions League that way.
“They are one of the world's genuinely big clubs, maybe just behind Real Madrid and Barcelona and on a par with Bayern Munich and I think they have to be in the Champions League if they want to join the big boys again, so the quicker they get there.”
Souness also offered a view on Mourinho’s frequent mood swings this season, as he suggested the Portuguese tactician of being a bad loser.
“Mourinho is like any other manager. When he is winning, he is a nice guy,” he added. “When it goes against him, he is miserable. I don’t have a problem with that.”
Meanwhile, former Ireland striker Niall Quinn offered a more upbeat assessment of United’s progress under Mourinho, as he suggested the former Chelsea boss was taking the club forward.
“I see Mourinho’s task at United as being akin to taking a giant ship out of a dry dock and trying to float it again,” states Quinn. “When Jose gets it right, I think he is going to spark United back into life.
“I see something that I like about where Mourinho is taking them, even if he is furious by the amount of games they have drawn at home.
“I always felt Louis van Gaal could only take it so far and David Moyes, but Mourinho will get them going again.”
Sky Sports will show all the big games in the final weeks of the Premier League season, including Manchester United v Chelsea and Tottenham v Arsenal.