Sunday 21 January 2018

Michael Owen had a very uncomplimentary description for Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempts an overhead kick last night
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempts an overhead kick last night

Samuel Lovett

Michael Owen has labelled Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a “stopgap striker” and does not believe the Swede can offer Manchester United the world-class quality they need in attack.

Ibrahimovic arrived at Old Trafford on a big contract and with high expectation to deliver, despite his 35 years of age.

Although the Swede has already registered eight goals for the side, Ibrahimovic recently suffered his longest scoring drought for 10 years – going six games without a goal.

But Owen, a former Liverpool and United player, has suggested that the forward is simply a temporary solution for manager Jose Mourinho.

"He's definitely a stopgap striker isn't he,” said Owen on Thursday night.

"He's good but we're talking Manchester United, you need to be one of the best strikers in the world to [be] the regular striker here.

"Jose Mourinho didn't think the current crop were ready [when he arrived]. Rashford: not ready; Wayne Rooney: probably saw him as a No 10; Martial: didn't he him as a striker. So [Zlatan] is a stopgap.

"A little bit like a few seasons ago when Robin van Persie was just brought for the one or two seasons [so]...they can find someone else on the market or some young kid can come through."

Paul Scholes echoed Owen’s sentiment, while arguing that Marcus Rashford should be looking to assert himself as the side’s No 1 forward.

“He's [Ibrahimovic] an athlete and a fit lad. He'll be good to have around the place, for someone like Marcus Rashford to learn from. If at 36 years of age he's going to be the main striker, then no I don't see that,” Scholes said.

“When this club was successful - when I was playing, when Michael was playing - we always had three or four brilliant centre forwards. As special as he has been over his career, and as special as he is now, I don't think he should be the main one.

“I think Marcus can take that role, I think now Marcus should be learning from [Zlatan] as much as he can. But there has to be a point when Marcus says: ‘Right, I'm after your place. We're direct rivals for this position’.”

When asked who he believes United should target as their next striker, Scholes reluctantly said: “I need a bit of time to think about that one.

“I think [Antoine] Griezmann would be up there, he looks a top centre forward. Will he stay [at] Atletico? I'm not sure.”

Independent News Service

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