John Aldridge: Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the Premier League’s best striker

by Leo Nieboer

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge believes that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the best striker in the Premier League this season.

The Swede, who arrived at Old Trafford in July, has claimed 15 Premier League goals so far this season, putting him in joint third with Romelu Lukaku in the list of top scorers this year.

He has claimed 20 goals in all competitions so far this season, becoming the first Man United player to reach such a milestone since Robin van Persie back in 2013.

And Aldridge has noted that any Premier League manager would want the 35-year-old in their side.

“As I weigh up the respective merits of the best strikers in the Premier League right now, Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic stands out as the talisman any manager would want in his team,” he said.

“For as long as any of us can remember, Ibrahimovic has been a world-class striker who has been winning trophies on a regular basis, with his aura and presence just as significant as his goals for United boss Jose Mourinho this season.

“The Red Devils chief will not be surprised by Ibrahimovic’s impact this season because he will have known that he had at least one more season left in him if he was used properly and the striker he already knew from their time together at Inter Milan has backed up that faith impressively.

“So let’s dip into a hypothetical world and weigh up how Ibrahimovic would have fitted into Klopp’s Liverpool team if he had move to Anfield instead of Old Trafford.

“I believe he would compliment any forward line and while a player of his imposing presence would change Liverpool’s attacking impetus, I think he would improve it.”

On the face of it, Zlatan had a poor game against Watford over the weekend: he shanked his first chance in front of goal harmlessly wide and struggled to cultivate many opportunities for himself as the game went on.

But the Swede’s influence, whilst minimal in front of goal, was crucial in a completely different way. His aptitude for dropping back, drawing defenders and creating space gave the likes of Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan more space to inflict damage.

You could tell that this was a deliberate tactic, and as Martial steamed through to grab Manchester United’s second it became clear that such momentum and space was largely down to Zlatan’s superb positional know-how at No.9.

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